Thursday, October 17, 2013

Do You Know Your Breast Cancer Risk?

Did you know that besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting American women? According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 12 percent of women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer at some point during their lives. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, please reacquaint yourself with screening recommendations that could help detect breast cancer in its earliest stages.

The ACS recommends the following guidelines with regard to breast cancer screenings:
  • Women age 20 and over: Know what your breasts usually look and feel like. If any changes are noticed, call your doctor. Beginning in your 20s, self breast exams become an option.
  • Women in 20s and 30s: Receive a clinical breast exam approximately every three years.
  • Women 40 and over: Receive yearly clinical breast exams and mammograms.

While breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in women, death rates from the disease are decreasing. This may be largely thanks to the increased awareness, earlier detection and improved treatment options now available for women with the disease. One new technology that is helping in early detection is 3D mammography, also known as breast tomosynthesis, which is now offered on GBMC’s campus through Advanced Radiology. This Food and Drug Administration-approved technology provides a clearer view of breast tissue than traditional 2D mammograms and may reduce the need for further examinations. Some studies show that, when combined with digital 2D technology, 3D mammography can provide improved breast cancer detection. All women undergoing a standard mammogram may elect to have this added to their exam at an additional cost of $100, as insurances do not currently pay for the test.

Consult with your physician to determine if 3D mammography might be a good option for you. Or, call Advanced Radiology at GBMC at (410) 580-2300 to learn more about the technology.

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