With education and close monitoring, women can take control of their breast health. While breast cancer is the most common cancer in women - with one in nine women developing the disease in their lifetime - maintaining a disciplined approach to screening will improve the chances of finding breast cancer early when it is easiest to treat. Early detection is the key to improving the success of breast cancer treatment and saving a woman's life.
Some women fall in a higher risk group due to a number of factors. These include:
- increasing age
- a personal history of breast cancer
- a family history of breast cancer
- never having a baby
- having a first baby after age 30
- onset of menstruation before age 12
- onset of menopause after age 50
- obesity with a high-fat, high-calorie diet
- alcohol consumption, especially at a young age
These risk factors occur in only 15-20 percent of women and are merely indicators that would put you in a risk group. No single factor guarantees a breast cancer diagnosis, as physicians cannot explain how or why cancer occurs. If you are in a risk group, remaining aware and closely monitoring your breast health are the best tools to maintain total body health.
The American Cancer Society recommends the following courses of action to help protect your breast health.
Taking the time to schedule and undergo a yearly mammogram gives women the greatest control of their breast health. Mammograms can detect small tumors and cancers up to a year before they could be felt in a physical examination. This early detection lets women receive the most successful and least invasive treatment options. A recommended yearly screening for women 40 years or older takes only minutes and could easily save your life.
Schedule your mammogram today. Call 310-517-4738.
Breast cancer also does not mean a woman will lose her breast - particularly with early detection and treatment. With radically improved treatment and diagnostic techniques, physicians are now able to find breast tumors as small as 2 millimeters (or the size of a pin head). When cancer is found at these early stages, surgical removal can be performed with less loss of breast tissue.
Conducting a breast self-examination (BSE) give women a role and responsibility in the personal care of their health. The American Cancer Society recommends monthly self-examinations for any woman over the age of 20, normally done seven days following the beginning of the menstrual cycle. For post-menopausal women, the exam should fall on the same day each month.
Classes are held at the Breast Diagnostic Center and are conducted by a Certified Breast Self-Exam Trainer RN who specializes in all aspects of breast health. Class sessions are private and
free. Class time at 5:00pm.
2013 Class Schedule
- September 19
- May 16
- November 7
Call 310-517-4709 for more information or to enroll in an upcoming class.
Visit the American Cancer Society for a detailed explanation of how to conduct a breast self-examination.
Physician Breast Exam
While breast self-examinations are a terrific way for women to take charge of their personal breast health, there are some inconsistencies more easily detected by a trained physician or nurse practitioner. It is recommended that all women between the ages of 20-29 have a clinical breast examination every 1-3 years. For those women over the age of 40 or in a higher risk group, a physician or nurse practitioner breast exam is recommended yearly.
Talk to your regular care provider about getting a breast exam, or call the Torrance Memorial Physician Referral Line at 310-517-4700 for referral to a physician in the community.