October marks a worldwide campaign dedicated to the awareness of breast cancer. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of beating it. During Breast Cancer Awareness month, Voyage Healthcare wants you to know that a mammogram is the most important tool in the early detection of breast cancer.
Why it's Important
Breast Cancer Awareness Month reminds women (and men) that monthly breast cancer exams should be a regular part of one's self care. An easy thing to remember when checking your body? Keep it simple with TLC: Touch, Look, Check.
- Touch: Does anything feel different or unusual? It’s important to note that lumps may not be seen, but they may be felt physically.
- Look: Does anything look different in size and shape of the breasts? Things to look for: size, shape, texture, coloration, discharge, rash, etc.
- Check: If you have noticed any change, check with your provider right away.
Some of these symptoms won’t always signal breast cancer, but keeping up with the TLC’s and having regular mammograms will help in the long-run. Always remember, that if you are worried, see your provider and they will assess you.
If I perform self-breast examinations, do I still need a mammogram?
It is recommended that all women perform monthly self-breast examinations. A clinical breast examination performed by your primary care provider is recommended every year. Because not all abnormalities can be detected by manual examinations, it is recommended that mammograms be performed.
Who should have a mammogram?
Mammogram screening is recommended for all women every 1-2 years starting at age 40-50 years. Your primary care provider may recommend a mammogram sooner or more frequently if you have significant breast symptoms or if you have been determined to be at high risk for breast cancer.
Ways to Lower Your Risk
Aside from genetics and getting older, there are some risk factors that you might be able to control. Below, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do to help improve your health and keep your risk for breast cancer low.
- Maintain a healthy weight range
- Regularly exercise
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Reduce tobacco consumption
Ask your doctors about your risks for breast cancer and what you need to do to maintain a lower risk.
Don't Let COVID-19 Delay Your Mammogram
Even during a global pandemic, mammograms and early detection are still critical for fighting this disease. Although COVID-19 will be in our communities longer than expected, it's crucial that you don't put off health maintenance and important screenings like mammography. Doing so can delay diagnosis and possibly limit treatment options due to more advanced disease at the time of diagnosis.
Our Center for Women’s Health is open for mammograms and bone density testing, so don't wait any longer to schedule your mammogram. Our new state-of-the-art digital mammography is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology, the FDA and the State of Minnesota. Inspections of our mammography department are performed every year and Voyage Healthcare prides itself in our excellent performance.