Breast Cancer Awareness
By Kelsey Lee, MD, of Avera Medical Group Sibley
October brings a cool breeze, pumpkin spice, Halloween candy, and a flurry of pink ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness. October is the month we spread the word on the second leading cause of cancer in US women (skin cancer is number one). Did you know 1 in 8 women will experience breast cancer in their lifetime? Odds are that you know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer originates from a group of cells uncontrollably dividing. Often women present their doctors with a painless lump, while some women have little to no symptoms, which is why screening for breast cancer is so important.
For someone of average risk, screening usually begins between 40-50 years of age and recurs every 1-2 years. The goal of screening is to identify breast cancer in its earliest stages even before symptoms begin because early treatment offers the greatest chance of survival. More than half of breast cancer cases are diagnosed before the cancer has spread outside the breast, which is at least partly why the 5-year survival rate is 99%.
Mammogram is the primary method for screening, but many abnormalities identified on a mammogram are not cancerous. There is often additional testing after an abnormal mammogram to diagnose breast cancer.
Risk factors for developing breast cancer include female gender, age, genetics, dense breasts, postmenopausal hormone replacement, and history of radiation. Opportunities to lower your risk for developing cancer include smoking cessation, limiting alcohol consumption, breastfeeding, and maintaining a normal BMI.
Schedule an appointment with an Avera Medical Group Sibley physician today by calling 712-754-3658 to discuss your breast cancer risks and screening options.