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The Importance of Early and Regular Screening for Breast Cancer


First, cool news: According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Next to skin cancer, it is the most common cancer that affects American women.

Good news? According to, women with invasive breast cancer have average 5-year and 10-year survival rates of 91% and 84%, respectively. Best of all, if breast cancer is detected early, a 5-year relative survival rate can be 99%.

A valid term here is “detection,” which, experts agree, makes women responsible for regular screening and is recommended for breast cancer.

“The importance of regular screening is to discover the earliest stages before breast cancer is palpable,” said Dr. Rebeccayan, medical director of breast surgery at Overlook Medical Center in New Jersey. That’s it. ” “Early detection leads to long-term survival and minimization of medical and surgical treatment.”

Screening methods recommended today include high-tech tools and careful self-examination.

“The most common screening test is digital mammography, which has effectively replaced film technology,” says Dr. Cecily Herbert, a board-certified family doctor who practices in Alexandria, Virginia. “It still uses X-ray technology, but the digital images are stored on a computer and are easy for the radiologist to manipulate and interpret.”

An advanced type of x-ray mammography that is becoming more popular is tomosynthesis, which takes multiple breast images from different angles.

“Breast MR is a great addition to high-risk screening and newly diagnosed cancers. It uses the power of large magnets to create highly detailed images of the breast, making it extremely sensitive and infiltrating cancer. Detects almost 100%, ”explains Dr. Paul Friedman, a radiologist and medical director at the Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, New Jersey.

Ultrasonography (also known as ultrasound) is a technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images and is another method doctors rely on to help screen their breasts.

“We did mammograms, ultrasounds, and biopsies earlier this year to see why we found a lump in our left breast. Fortunately, it was benign,” says Nadia Malik, three mothers from Dallas. “It is highly recommended to be screened early. Use your intestines as no one knows your body better than you.”

Breast cancer screening is very confusing for patients because the guidelines vary from organization to organization, said Dr. Monisha Bhanote, founder and CEO of Integrated Medicine Well-being in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

For example, the American Cancer Society recommends getting the first mammogram by age 45, repeating it annually between ages 45 and 54, and repeating it every 1-2 years for ages 55 and older. Advocate of the American College of Radiology / Society of Breast Imaging Start mammography by the age of 40 and repeat the rest of your life every year. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology also advises that mammograms be started at the age of 40, repeated every 1-2 years, and stopped by the age of 75.

If in doubt, it is best to follow your doctor’s advice.

“The recommended age for women to start breast cancer screening is often a controversial topic,” says Friedman. “But it is fairly generally agreed that the primary relatives start mammograms about 10 years before they were first diagnosed with breast cancer. Therefore, if the mother has breast cancer at age 45, then 35. You need to start screening from. “

A few years ago, all women were recommended to take baseline mammograms at the age of 35, according to Havert.

“But this was disapproved about 10 years ago, and for low-risk to average-risk women, the intervals were somewhat longer every 1-2 years from the annual screening,” says Havert. “The reason the intervals and recommended starting ages have changed is that mammograms, especially in young women, picked up many false-positive abnormalities and required more invasive diagnostic procedures to assess benign lesions. The actions taken caused more stress. In some patients, the quality of life deteriorates. “

In addition, don’t overlook the importance of manual breast examinations that you and your doctor can perform.

“Women should try to get used to their breasts by performing self-breast examinations daily or every other day,” says Banote.

First, it examines skin induration (hardening of soft tissues) and redness, checks for nipple secretions and contractions, and observes breast symmetry.

“Next, palpate each breast while lying down or taking a shower. Use two fingers from the hand opposite the breast. Start from the center and proceed clockwise. I feel nodules, lumps, and bumps, “she says. “Palpate the armpits to check for swollen lymph nodes.”

If you are preparing to have a breast exam or screening procedure scheduled in a hospital or clinic, you should take pandemic-related precautions, even if your coronavirus concerns have been alleviated by the time you read this article. Please note in particular.

“You will need to wear a mask and check your temperature when you visit,” says Banault. “For precautions, follow the guidelines recommended by the CDC and follow local protocols provided by your hospital or doctor.”


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