Exercise and a healthy life style are important is to reducing the risk of ever getting breast cancer. But to improve the chances of survival, early detection and screening is critical .. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 200,000 American women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year and 40,000 will die from this disease.
Early Detection and Screening
According to the NCI over 30 percent of women are diagnosed after breast cancer has spread beyond the localized stage.
When breast cancer is detected early, the five year survival rate is 98 percent.
Early detection of breast cancer saves lives. Having regular screening tests performed is the best way for women to lower their risk of dying from breast cancer. Such tests can find breast cancer early, when it is most treatable. According to the ACS, breast cancers that are discovered because they can be felt tend to be larger and are more likely to have already spread beyond the breast. In contrast, breast cancers found during screening exams are more likely to be small and still confined to the breast. The size of the breast cancer and the degree to which it has metastasized are important factors in the prognosis for a person with this disease.
The most common symptoms of breast cancer are a lump in or on the breast, abnormal thickening of the breast, or a change in the shape or color of the breast. Finding a lump or change in the breast, however, does not necessarily indicate breast cancer.
The following are the ACS’s recommendations for early breast cancer detection in women without any specific symptoms:
- Women aged 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
- Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a periodic (regular) health exam by a health professional every three years. Starting at age 40, women should have a CBE annually.
- Women should understand breast self–examination (BSE) and be informed of its benefits and limitations.
- Women should report any breast changes to their health professional immediately.
- Women at high risk (greater than 20 percent lifetime risk) should have an MRI and a mammogram performed every year. Women at moderately–increased risk (15-20 percent lifetime risk) should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram. Yearly MRI screening is not recommended for women whose lifetime risk is < 15 percent.
There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. Other than lifestyle changes, the most important step a woman should take is to follow the ACS’s guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer.
Today, there are approximately 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States. Encourage the women in your life to become informed about breast cancer and to schedule the recommended screening tests that can best protect their health.
As most people are aware, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. CYBEX has joined thousands of companies and individuals around the globe to focus on this dreaded disease with the Pink Ribbon Run. Pink Arcs and treadmills are available at clubs across the US and Cybex is contributing 10c/mile during this month to sponsor breast cancer research through the BCRF.