October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and we'd like to take the opportunity to spread the word about the importance of screenings and the early detection of breast cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated that 207,090 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. That makes breast cancer the second most common type of cancer in American women. Although breast cancer is found predominantly in women, men can develop breast cancer as well.
Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but some cannot. For example, both smoking and inheriting certain genes are risk factors, but only smoking can be avoided. In this example you could decrease your risk for breast cancer by quitting smoking. Eating a healthy diet, and exercising also may decrease your breast cancer risk.
If you want to understand more about your specific risks, consider completing an online risk assessment and assessing your risk with your doctor. Take the risk assessment supported by the National Cancer Institute to learn more about your risks.
In addition to decreasing your risk, it's also important to have screening exams and tests that may detect breast cancer as early as possible. Screening tests focus on early detection and can help find breast cancer before symptoms appear and before the cancer spreads. The following screening recommendations are for women with no symptoms who are not at high risk for breast cancer:
|Screenings & Exams||Age & Recommendation|
|Mammogram||40–49 Varies. Please check with your doctor.
50–74 Every 1–2 years
|Clinical Breast Exam||20–39 Every 1–3 years
40 or older Once a year
Learn how to do a self-exam.
|20 or older Optional. Talk to your doctor.|
It's always important to talk to your doctor about your risk of breast cancer. If you have an increased or high risk, you may need to start having mammograms or other types of screening tests more frequently or at an earlier age. You should always talk to your doctor about the best screening schedule for you.
We're Here to Help
Are you ready to get a mammogram? Call Member Service at the number on the front of your ID card. We can help you find a doctor who's right for you, locate a mammography facility in your area, and answer any questions you may have.
Do You Know Someone with Breast Cancer?
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