It’s time to pull out the pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know, when detected early, the five-year survival rate of breast cancer is 99%? Regular screening tests reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer. Mammograms, clinical breast exams, and breast MRIs (oh my) are all screenings used to find breast cancer before it causes symptoms.
How often should I be screened for breast cancer? The National Comprehensive Cancer Network suggests that women at an average risk of breast cancer should undergo a mammogram every year beginning at age 40—so long as she is in good health. Alternatively, women at an average risk, aged 25-39 should undergo clinical breast screenings every 1-3 years and then every year beginning at age 40. Many symptoms of breast cancer are unrecognizable without one of these professional screenings.
Now, everyone is born with some breast cells and tissue, including males. Unfortunately, awareness in men is less common which has resulted in men having a higher mortality rate from breast cancer than women; this is because they are less likely to assume a breast lump is breast cancer.
What exactly are the symptoms of breast cancer? Common symptoms of breast cancer include:
- a lump or thickening in, or near, the breast or underarm area
- a nipple turned inward
- fluid or discharge from the nipple
- dimpling in the skin of the breast
- red or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola
These symptoms can also occur for causes other than breast cancer. Nonetheless, if you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms, see a qualified healthcare provider immediately. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Shelly Chvotzkin, Luminary Medical Group gynecologist, for any breast cancer concerns you may have. Dr. Chvotzkin even offers hereditary cancer screenings.