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Exams a Must for Detecting Breast Cancer

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Do it in the shower. Do it while getting ready for bed. Just do it once a month.
Get familiar with your breasts. Look for lumps, changes in size, shape or fee, and to see if there is any fluid.

All women should know their breasts and surrounding areas so they can be aware of changes, the American Cancer Society recommends.

“I encourage all of you to become an expert about the way your breasts look and feel so you can detect any subtle changes. After all, it’s our body, and we are the ones who have to live with whatever goes wrong with it,” said Jennie Yoon Buchanan, Medical Director of Women’s Imaging Services at Florida Hospitals.

It’s even more important that women in their 20s see a doctor for a Clinical Breast Exam every three years – and once a year after turning 40. Most doctors recommend annual mammograms for women 40 and older. Higher risk men and women should see their doctors more often.

“Many breast cancers will be found in women who never felt a lump, because on average, mammography will detect about 80 to 90 percent of the breast cancers in women without symptoms,” said Kristina Thomson, interim executive vice president for the American Cancer Society of New York and New Jersey.

In Pennsylvania, experts predict 10,570 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the idea is to educate women and men and to raise money for the cure. Sometimes women are afraid to go see their doctors, but this is the time to do it. Grab a friend and make appointments.

The American Cancer Society works closely with health departments and health care systems to provide free mammograms. Call 1-800-227-2345 for more information.

Developments in the medical field include diagnostic innovations such as those found at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. The hospital is working on more early-detection procedures that are less invasive.

“Improvements in detection as well as insights into surgical treatment options and their outcomes have increasingly led to longer, improved lives for women with breast cancer,” said Dr. Andrew Seidman, who practices in New York and is part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Lisa Klenoshek September 30, 2011 at 08:19 PM
YES! October is a great reminder to schedule your mammogram! Early detection saves lives. The survival rates for Stage 0 -1 is 88-93% vs. Stage 4 which is 15%. If you have history of breast cancer in your family (mom or dad's side!) you should be screened earlier than the standard of 40 years of age. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime! Staggering! We need to keep funding research. Check out the ACS's Greater Pittsburgh Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk Oct 29, 2011 at Heinz Field. And don't forget to wear your pink!
lynn October 01, 2011 at 03:09 AM
Lisa, thanks for providing this information - the statistics that you provided are very compelling and should cause every woman to follow the experts advice for early detection. I will be at Heinz Field for the walk dressed in pink and I encourage all other women, and men as well, to join me and all of the other walkers for this very worthwhile and important cause.

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