Friday, October 2, 2015

Early & Regular Breast Cancer Screenings Saves Lives

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) and, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 1 in 8 (or 12%) of women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Additionally, around 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women, and about 60,290 new cases of non-invasive and early breast cancer will be diagnosed.

Body weight, physical activity, and diet have all been linked to breast cancer, so these are areas where anyone can take action to prevent breast cancer. Many studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity is linked with lower breast cancer risk. And, a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products can also lower risk. Currently, the ACS recommends these three tips about diet and activity to possibly reduce risk of breast cancer: 

  • Get regular, intentional physical activity; 
  • Reduce your lifetime weight gain by limiting your calories and getting regular physical activity; and,
  • Avoid or limit your alcohol intake. 
However, routine breast screenings are the smartest and safest bet to detect breast cancer early. Screenings are extremely important, as early detection of breast cancer saves many thousands of lives each year.

The ACS recommends these general guidelines on what types of tests to have and when to have them:
  • Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health;
  • Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a periodic health exam by a health professional, at least every three years. After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health professional every year; 
  • Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should report any breast changes to their health professional right away. 
  • Women at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get an MRI and a mammogram every year.
Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is committed to increasing awareness and providing early detection services within the county. JCPH offers low cost clinical breast exams, Pap tests, and pelvic exams to all Jefferson County women as part of their routine Women’s Wellness Exam. For more information, visit our website. To schedule an appointment at the Lakewood clinic please call (303) 239-7078.

More information on breast cancer, the risk factors and prevention steps,  can be found at:

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