The Detection Plan
Our fight for the cure is for all types of cancer, but October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, so the SAA team has prepped some quick facts and figures on this disease, and a plan for early detection.
Did you know…
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, and the second leading cause of death among them. One in eight will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime.
Here’s the good news, though: mortality rates have been declining in women since 1990, due in combination to awareness, earlier and better detection and increased treatment options. And when detected early (in the localized stage,) the 5-year survival rate for women is 98%. Progress is being made, and while you may not be able to prevent it, being able to detect breast cancer early could make a world of difference.
Detection plans are very important, and consist of self-exams, clinical exams and regular mammograms for women over the age of 40.
Recommended once per month, self-exams are responsible for about 40% of detection rates. Most people who are diagnosed with breast cancer only notice one or two of the symptoms at first, which include any new lumps, changes in skin color or texture, any discharge or any unexplained changes in size or shape of the breast.
The Clinical Exam
A medical professional that is trained to notice abnormalities should conduct a clinical exam at an annual checkup. The doctor would do a visual and manual check of both breasts, and assess anything suspicious if found.
Mammograms are x-rays of the breasttissue. For women over the age of 40, the risk of breast cancer increases, and mammograms should be performed every 1 or 2 years. Often, the mammogram can detect a lump before it can be felt, which can be key to detecting abnormal cells at the earliest possible time.
Knowing the facts about breast cancer and the steps to early detection is important for both men and women. Awareness is the best defense, but we know it’s not enough. Educate yourself and contact a doctor if you suspect anything, and get involved with Swim Across America as we work towards a cure!