For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, experts tout early detection.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation encourages individuals to “know your normal” to increase the chances of early detection. This makes it easier to detect changes in the breast such as pain, lumps, change in shape, or discharge.
The National Cancer Institute recommends yearly mammograms for women over 40. Studies indicate that mammograms decrease breast cancer deaths in women ages 40 to 74, especially women older than 50.
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that can help detect abnormalities. Women who have breast implants should inform their physician or technician before the mammogram so they can adjust their scanning techniques.
Possible drawbacks of yearly mammograms include false-positive results, false-negative results, and exposure to radiation. However, the National Cancer Institute said the benefits outweigh possible drawbacks.
Mammograms do not significantly improve survival rates for women under the age of 40. For more information, visit www.cancer.gov.
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