This is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The American Cancer Society wants all women to take steps to reduce their breast cancer risk by scheduling their yearly mammogram. By taking this action, women can choose to put their health first, fight breast cancer, and ultimately help to create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays.
Studies have shown that early detection of breast cancer through mammography greatly improves treatment options, the chances for successful treatment, and survival. In fact, getting yearly mammograms is the most important action that women can take to find breast cancer early, before physical symptoms develop and when the disease is most treatable.
For women of average risk, the American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms and clinical breast exams for women 40 and older and clinical breast exams every three years for women in their 20s and 30s. Women with a high risk for breast cancer should talk to their doctor about when screening should begin and what other testing, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), they might wish to consider.
Here are some tips from the American Cancer Society to help create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays:
- Choose to put your health first and stay well: If you’re 40 or older, scheduling your yearly mammogram with a friend or two. Then treat yourselves to something fun afterwards – you deserve that and much more for choosing to make your health a priority.
- Speak out for those who can’t afford to get their mammograms: Low-income women are less likely to have had a mammogram. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) is a federal/state funded program that provides free or low-cost mammograms and Pap tests for low-income, uninsured or underinsured women. However, less than one in five eligible women between the ages of 50 and 64 nationally are being served by the program due to a lack of funding. Visit acscan.org/breastcancer to find out how you can help urge Congress to increase resources for this lifesaving program.
- Contact the American Cancer Society for resources that can help you get well: The American Cancer Society helps newly diagnosed patients and their loved ones by providing free information around the clock by calling 1-800-227-2345 or visiting cancer.org. Additional resources include books such as ‘Breast Cancer Clear & Simple,’ which provides easy to understand information on the various aspects breast cancer patients face, including answers to questions like ‘What will happen to me?’ and ‘How will cancer treatment affect my work? In many communities, dedicated Society volunteers will drive breast cancer patients to treatment, and breast cancer survivors will support newly diagnosed patients through their breast cancer journey.
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