Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month

During 2013, it is estimated that more than 1,150 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 190 women will die from the disease. As October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness month, Maine CDC reminds women that regular screening mammograms are critical in diagnosing and beginning treatment of the disease.

A screening mammogram can detect breast cancer early, even before symptoms arise. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Cancer Society recommend annual mammogram, starting at age 40. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening every one to two years, starting at age 50. Women with a first degree relative with breast cancer may warrant testing prior to these age recommendations. All patients should enter into a personal discussion regarding their screening with their primary care physicians and decisions should be individualized.

Women with hyper dense breast tissue may be at increased risk, as a mass may be masked by the dense tissue. Not all breast cancer is palpable as a lump on breast exam, which is why mammogram is so important.

The Maine CDC Breast and Cervical Health and Colorectal Cancer Control Programs can provide information about cancer screening tests and has some resources available for free cancer screenings.

Women must be age 40 or older and meet financial and other program criteria. Interested women are encouraged to call 1-800-350-5180 or 1-207-287-8068; TTY users call Maine Relay 711.

More details can also be found at: http://go.usa.gov/DHJ5

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