Breast cancer awareness

What you need to know

10/12/18 Healthy living
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The lifetime risk for a woman to be diagnosed with breast cancer is 1-in-8, and things like a family history of breast cancer or moderate alcohol intake may increase that risk. So, what’s the best way to stay healthy? Know your risk factors and get screened. A mammogram is the first line of defense against breast cancer. And understand that a positive mammogram is not a diagnosis. No matter what the outcome, treatment and support is available. Follow the simple steps below to make sure that you’re being proactive.

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Step 1. Know your risk factors

When it comes to risk factors for breast cancer, knowledge is power. A doctor can help you identify what needs to be monitored, what’s in your control, and what needs to change. Not sure which risk factors apply to you? Things like obesity, not exercising regularly or moderate alcohol consumption may all increase your risk of breast cancer. Want to learn about other risk factors? Visit cancer.org to learn more.

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Step 2: Get screened

Once you work with a doctor to identify which risk factors apply to you, you can figure out which screening is right for you. Using x-rays, a digital mammogram allows for less radiation than a traditional screening, better analysis, and easier file storage.

3D mammography allows a radiologist to examine tissue more closely. When used in combination with digital mammography, 3D mammography detects up to 40% more invasive cancers. Scared of getting screened? The uncomfortable part only lasts for a few seconds and the whole process is over in less than 20 minutes.

 

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Step 3: A mammogram is not a diagnosis

A radiologist will examine your screenings to identify abnormalities or anything that requires further testing. While mammograms are crucial in early detection, finding an abnormality isn’t a diagnosis. Your doctor may use one or more of the following tests to determine a diagnosis: digital diagnostic diagram; MRI; ultrasound; image-guided breast biopsy; needle-localized breast biopsy. Remember, a lump or abnormality does not mean you have cancer. Most women who are called back for further testing end up being cancer-free.

And remember, one screening when you turn 50 isn't enough. You should return to your doctor for a screening every 2-3 years to increase the likelihood of catching any irregularities as soon as they arise.

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