Did You Know?
- A woman’s risk of developing breast cancer is approximately 1 in 8.
- Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in the United States in women ages 40-49
- Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States and the second most common cause of cancer death in women.
Fortunately, breast cancer survival rates are improving. The reason for increasing survival rates are:
- Increased awareness in women for the need for breast cancer screening.
- Mammograms have become more accessible and continually get better at finding developing cancers earlier.
- New and better treatments for breast cancer continue to be developed
When should women have a mammogram?
Here are some recommendations from several professional organizations:
These recommendations are for women with an average risk of breast cancer. If you have a family history of breast cancer in a first degree relative such as mother, or sister or second-degree grandmother or aunt discuss the need for mammograms and when to start with your doctor.
There are genetic tests that can identify increased familial risk for breast and ovarian cancer, both of which are affected by genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2. However, it’s important to note that only about 5-10% of breast cancer cases overall are related to one of these genes. Abnormal BRCA genes are more likely to be found in situations such as breast cancer before age 50, breast cancer in males, recurrent or bilateral breast cancer in the same women and multiple breast cancers on the same side of the family. If you are an individual who has not been affected by breast cancer but is concerned about your family history, you are less likely to find that you carry an abnormal gene, but can still be tested if you desire. The test can be expensive – between $4,500 and $6,000. Talk to your provider or genetic counselor about the pros and cons of genetic testing.
Many women who are susceptible to developing cancer have discovered this by having their yearly mammograms. This can alert family members to an increased risk of breast cancer and potentially save the lives of their loved ones.
For breast cancer awareness month, we encourage you to discuss your need for breast cancer screening with your health care provider.
Renny McDaniel MD, MPH
Canyon View Family Medicine – Payson