Officials with the American Cancer Society in Sioux Falls say getting an annual mammogram could very well save your life. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, a great time they say to make sure you are doing everything you can to cut down on your risk of breast cancer.
National Mammography Day, was just celebrated on October 19th. Around this time the American Cancer Society says you need to keep in mind that getting an annual mammogram is the most important step women can take to protect against breast cancer. The American Cancer Society says women age 40 and over should schedule their annual mammogram. Thursday morning we will be live at the American Cancer Society in Sioux Falls speaking with ACS officials and a breast cancer survivor about the importance of being informed and getting screened.
The American Cancer Society says Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women after skin cancer. They say it will affect nearly 230,000 people in 2012 and nearly 1 in every 8 women during their lifetime. They also say this year in South Dakota, approximately 600 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed.
Many survivors, doctors, and ACS officials will tell you when breast cancer is caught early, treatment is more effective and cures are more likely. The ACS says mammograms can detect breast cancer before it forms a characteristic lump or spreads to the lymph nodes or other organs. The ACS says since the 1960s, survival rates for breast cancer have increased from 63% to 90% thanks to improvements in early detection and treatment.
The American Cancer Society is also putting out a list they are calling the 7 things that every woman should know to protect her breast health:
1. The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman. That risk increases with age - the American Cancer Society recommends that women over the age of 40 get a yearly mammogram.
2. The best way to detect and evaluate changes is a mammogram which takes an x-ray of breast tissue. While not perfect, mammograms will detect 80-90% of breast cancers in women without symptoms.
3. Women who wait to have children until after the age of 30, choose to not breastfeed, are overweight, have a family history of breast cancer, or have certain other breast conditions may have a higher risk for breast cancer.
4. All women - including those with average risk - can help lower their risk for breast cancer by maintaining a healthy body weight, getting regular exercise, and limiting alcohol consumption.
5. If one or more of your relatives has had breast cancer, talk to your doctor about when you should start getting screened. It could be a life-saver.
6. Lumps aren't the only way to detect cancer: skin irritation, dimpling, pain, discharge, or scaliness can also be indicators of breast cancer.
7. Resources for local patients with breast cancer including rides to treatment, lodging, and 24-hour support can be found at www.cancer.org or by calling 1.800.277.2345.
If you or someone you know is concerned about paying for a mammogram, the American Cancer Society has resources to help. Call the American Cancer Society at 1.800.227.2345 or visit cancer.org to find a program near you and additional resources.
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