“That I am fine today and stronger than before, I credit
to early

Olivia Newton-John

Active engagement in early detection is an essential part of a woman’s health routine. There are many different risk factors that can increase your personal risk of getting breast cancer such as family history, age, ethnicity, and others– but by far the greatest risk factor of getting breast cancer is to be a woman. Consequently, no woman should take the approach “it won’t happen to me,” as it can. That makes following all steps of early detection throughout the year an important habit for every woman starting at age 20.

Breast Cancer grows slowly and it takes a few years until any of the screening methods can find the disease. The National Breast Cancer Coalition estimates that about 1 million American women currently have breast cancer but have not been diagnosed yet! Dr. Ernie Bodai wants you to know that breast cancer is a very treatable disease if found at an early stage. More than 95% of women whose breast cancer is caught in its earliest stages will be healthy and disease-free within 5 years after their diagnosis and treatment.

The American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines for the detection of breast cancer in women.

Step 1

Breast Self-Exams (BSE): Women 20 years of age and older should be told about the benefits and limitations of monthly breast self-exams. Women should be aware of how their breasts normally feel and report any new changes to their doctors as soon as they are found. Many healthcare professionals believe strongly in this easy, no cost method of screening for breast cancer and recommend breast self-exams on a monthly basis.

Step 2

Clinical Breast Exams (CBE): Women 20–39 should have a physical examination of the breasts, performed by a health care professional yearly. Clinical Breast Exams may often be done in the same appointment as a Pap smear. Women 20–39 should also perform monthly BSE (breast self-exam).

Step 3

Screening Mammograms: Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 (never skip) as age

is one of the greatest risk factors for all women. Women 40 and older should have a physical examination of the breast, performed by a health care professional (CBE or clinical breast exam) every year. CBE can often be performed in the same visit as a mammogram. Monthly BSE (breast self-exam) should also be performed between annual mammograms and clinical exams. Dr. Ernie Bodai also recommends a base line mammogram at the age of 35.

Women with a high risk of breast cancer and/or family history of breast cancer should consult
their doctor about receiving annual screening mammograms starting between the ages of 30
and 40.

Woman at a very high risk of breast cancer (such as those positive for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes) should speak with their physician about beginning annual mammograms at a much earlier age.

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