Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. While Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October is an important observance, the fight against this disease is a year-long campaign.
The American Cancer Society said the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12%, or a 1 in 8 chance. The risk that a woman will die from breast cancer is about 2.6%, or a 1 in 38 chance.
But there is positive news. Studies have shown that when breast cancer is detected early and hasn’t spread to anywhere else in the body, the 5-year relative survival rate is 99 percent.
At Cucamonga Valley Medical Group, we strongly encourage women to conduct self-breast examinations (SBE) as early as age 30.
A mammogram is another important tool. It documents the density of breast tissue and may detect suspicious growths and calcifications, thus leading to early detection of breast cancer.
At CVMG, we encourage women to schedule a mammogram, beginning at the age of 40 (or younger than 40 if there are sufficient risk factors).
Most breast cancers are found in women ages 55 and older. Your family history, race, breast density and menstrual period history are other factors that may increase risk of breast cancer.
Lifestyle-related factors, including the use of birth control pills, hormone therapy after menopause, having children, drinking alcohol, being overweight or obese, and not being physically active also might increase the risk.
Some signs of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast or underarm; swelling or thickening of all or part of the breast; dimpling or skin irritation of breast skin; localized, persistent breast pain; redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin; nipple discharge (other than breast milk); or any change in the size or shape of the breast.
October has helped put an emphasis on Breast Cancer Awareness. It’s important to know your risks and learn how to use the tools associated with early detection.
The team at Cucamonga Valley Medical Group is here to help. Call us at 909.429.2864 to make an appointment.