How Much Do You Know About Breast Cancer?

How Much Do You Know About Breast Cancer?

How much do you know about breast cancer? The answer is probably, "not enough." Because 182,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed every year in the United States, it's a subject worth learning about. Your health, your life, or the life of a woman close to you may depend on knowing a few simple facts:

Did you know that: More than 80 percent of breast lumps are NOT cancerous. A woman who lives to age 85 has a one out of eight risk of developing breast cancer sometime in her life. Breast cancer can occur without any warning signs. The five-year survival rate for breast cancer is more than 90%, if the cancer is detected and diagnosed early. Modern mammography -- a low level x-ray that's safe when done at accredited centers -- can find breast tumors up to two years before they can be felt.

Progress has been made in treating breast cancer. Many women no longer lose a breast to this disease. In fact, today's generation of women have a better chance of surviving breast cancer and leading active lifestyles. Finding the disease early is the key to timely treatment.

Women should learn how to do a breast self-exam once a month to detect changes that may signal a problem. Women should also get clinical breast exams from their doctor every year or two starting at age 30 and every year after age 40.

The American Academy of Family Physicians -- which represents the nation's family physicians -- advises women over age 50 to get a mammogram every year. Your family doctor may suggest a mammogram every year or two starting at age 40. Depending on risk factors, including family history, your family physician may also suggest a mammogram before age 40.

For more information about how and when to schedule a mammogram or how to do a self-exam, contact your family physician -- the medical specialist with the broad training to treat nine out of 10 medical problems in patients of all ages and both sexes. Family physicians are trained in disease prevention. They know how to help patients get the health care services they need, including mammography and checks for breast cancer.

The article was provided as a public service in support of Family Health Month by The American Academy of Family Physicians, 8880 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, Missouri 64114-2797 USA, (800) 274-2237, ext. 4218, or (816) 333-9700; FAX: (816) 333-3344; e-mail: 7414...@compuserve.com

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