23 Oct October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.
The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of detecting breast cancer early. Make a difference! Spread the word about mammograms.
How often should I get mammograms?
- Women ages 40 to 49
Talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them.
- Women ages 50 to 74
Get mammograms every 1-2 years. Talk with your doctor to decide if you need them more often.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. Mammograms use a very low level of x-rays, which are a type of radiation. Mammograms are very safe.
Mammograms can be used to screen (test) for breast cancer in women with no signs or symptoms – or to diagnose women with symptoms, like lumps in their breasts.
When you get a mammogram, a technician will place your breast between 2 plastic plates and press your breast flat to get a clear picture. Getting a mammogram can be uncomfortable for some women, but the discomfort only lasts a few seconds.
It takes about 20 minutes to get mammograms.
Talk with your provider if breast or ovarian cancer runs in your family
If your family has a history of breast or ovarian cancer, talk with your doctor or nurse about it. You may be at higher risk for developing these and other types of cancer.
Talk with your doctor about genetic counseling and testing.
Genetic counseling and genetic testing can help you understand your risk for certain types of cancer that can run in families.
Doctors don’t recommend genetic testing for all women, but you may want to talk about it with your doctor if you have a family member who had:
- Breast cancer before age 50
- Cancer in both breasts
- Both breast and ovarian cancer
You may also want to talk with your doctor about genetic testing if you have:
- A male family member who had breast cancer
- Two or more family members who had breast or ovarian cancer
- Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish heritage
Genetic testing can’t tell you if you will get cancer or not, but it can show if you have a genetic change that puts you at higher risk. If so, you and your doctor can discuss options for managing your risk.
Get your well-woman visit every year
Schedule a well-woman visit with your provider every year. The well-woman visit is an important way to help you stay healthy.
Well-woman visits include a full checkup, separate from any other visit for sickness or injury. These visits focus on preventive care for women, which may include:
- Services, like shots, that improve your health by preventing diseases and other health problems
- Screenings, which are medical tests to check for diseases early when they may be easier to treat
- Education and counseling to help you make informed health decisions
What happens during a well-woman visit?
Your well-woman visit is a chance to focus on your overall health and wellness. There are 3 main goals for the visit:
- Documenting your health habits and history
- Getting a physical exam
- Setting health goals
Looking for a mammogram facility near you – click the link below