Did you know that in 2012 an estimated 226,870 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 39,510 women will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society?
Although breast cancer incidence rates have declined since the late 1990s, the chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is still about 1 in 8, according to the American Cancer Society.
This October, take a stand against breast cancer. Here is information on breast cancer prevention and screening, and other resources for Cambridge residents.
Take Charge, Get Screened
Finding breast cancer early is important. According to the American Cancer Society, the earlier breast cancer is found, the better chance that treatment will work. This month, you can take charge of your own breast health by following these screening guidelines.
What is it? A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast. It is used to look for breast disease in women who do not seem to have breast problems, and can also be used when women have symptoms such as a lump, skin change, or nipple discharge.
Who should get one? Women age 40 and older.
How often? Every year.
Clinical Breast Exam
What is it? A clinical breast exam is an exam of your breasts by a health professional.
Who should get one? Women in their 20s and 30s.
How often? As part of a regular exam by a health professional, at least every three years.
After age 40, women should have a breast exam every year.
Breast Self Exam
What is it? A breast self exam involves becoming aware of how your own breasts look and feel, so you are more likely to notice any changes. You can also use a step-by-step approach to checking your breasts on a set schedule.
Who should get one? Women starting in their 20s.
How often? On a regular basis if desired.
See a doctor right away if you notice any unusual changes.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
What is it? Used for screening women who have a high risk of breast cancer, MRI scans use radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays to make pictures.
Who should get one? Women at high risk.
How often? Every year.
For more information on breast cancer prevention, screening and treatment, visit www.cancer.org.
Screening in Cambridge
Did you know? The Cambridge Breast Center, based at the Cambridge Hospital, was the first breast center in Massachusetts to receive national accreditation. Accreditation is awarded to breast centers that provide the highest level of quality breast care and undergo a rigorous evaluation and review process. In 2009, Cambridge Hospital was named a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.
Learn more about the Cambridge Breast Center, next-day digital mammography screening, support groups for people with cancer, or Cambridge Health Alliance's Breast Health Connection that assists women in the community access timely breast health screening and diagnostic services.
Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk
Breast cancer cannot be prevented, but women can take steps to reduce their risk. The CDC recommends:
Get screened for breast cancer early
Control your weight and exercise regularly
Know your family history of breast cancer
Learn about the risks and benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
To learn more about risk factors for breast cancer, visit: www.cdc.gov.
Breast Cancer and Men
Breast cancer is much less common among men than women. However, the American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012, approximately 2,190 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed among men in the United States.
The cause of most cancers is not known, but men can take two important preventative measures to lower the risk of breast cancer:
Maintain an ideal body weight
Reduce alcohol consumption
Remember, early detection is just as important for men as it is for women. Think about getting screened this October!
Updated on October 9, 2012