About one in eight women in the US will develop invasive beat cancer over the course of her lifetime. It remains the most common cancer among women. Although death rates have been decreasing, thanks to treatment advances and earlier detection, there are still many deaths that could be avoided if all women received the standard of care for prevention and treatment.
On Health Happens, our weekly Facebook Live show, we talked with Dr. Joyce Moore, a breast surgeon from Sky Ridge Medical Center about what the standard of care is for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, but there are things you can do that might lower your risk, such as changing risk factors you can control like diet and exercise.
Screening is an important prevention tool. For women that are of average risk, meaning no strong family history, the American Cancer Society says they should start getting annual screening mammograms at the age of 40. Breast cancer is sometimes found after symptoms appear, but many women with breast cancer have no symptoms.
For the standard of care for treatment, the stage of your breast cancer is an important factor in making decisions about treatment options. The American Cancer Society lists different treatments of breast cancer by stage but in general, treatment includes surgery and possible radiation often along with chemotherapy.
One of the greatest challenges in overcoming breast cancer is related to barriers to obtaining the preventive care or treatment needed. Those barriers can be geographical, financial, or general anxiety about going to the doctor or getting preventive screenings.
There are several resources available to help women access preventive screenings and treatments for breast cancer. At many 9Health Fairs, you can get a free breast exam – not a mammogram but it can be a good place to start.
Komen Colorado funds organizations to cover the cost of breast cancer screenings, diagnostics, and treatment for medically underserved women.
Click links below for some additional resources:
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are following the cancer journey of Dr. Michelle Tollefson. A physician and professor recently diagnosed with breast cancer who is now being treated and recovering. You can see her story by clicking here.
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