October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. More people are getting screened for breast cancer early, and it’s making a difference. Breast cancer deaths have decreased by nearly 40 percent over the last three decades.
than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in the U.S., regardless of race or ethnicity. Some warning signs of breast cancer include a new lump in the breast or underarm, any change in breast size or shape, or pain in the breast.
Breast cancer screening means checking a woman’s breasts for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. All women need to be informed by their health care provider about the best screening options for them.
breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you, and when you should have them. If you have any signs
that worry you, we encourage you to contact your primary care physician (PCP) right away. Being familiar with how your breasts look and feel can help you notice symptoms such as lumps, pain, or changes in size that may be of concern. These could include
changes found during a breast self-exam. You should report any changes that you notice to your doctor or health care provider.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women who are 50 to 74 years old, and are at average risk
for breast cancer, get a mammogram every two years. Women who are 40 to 49 years old should talk to their doctor about when to start, and how often to get a mammogram. Women should weigh the benefits and risks of screening tests when deciding whether
to begin getting mammograms at age 40.
The best defense you can take against breast cancer is to get and stay healthy. You may not be able to control certain risk factors, like having a family history of the disease, but you can control your
behaviors and lifestyle. Talk to your PCP or OBGYN to get the appropriate preventive care screenings for you.