In the US, breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. But the good news is that survival rates are better than ever, particularly when breast cancer is detected in its early stages. During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the Breast Care Services team at MountainView Hospital encourages women to know their risk factors and talk to their doctors about getting a mammogram.
Know your risk factors of breast cancer
Certain factors may increase your risk of getting breast cancer. However, not all women who are at a high risk will get breast cancer, and some women with a low risk may still develop it. It’s important to know your risk factors because they help guide your doctor’s recommendations for mammograms and lifestyle changes.
Age is one risk factor of cancer. Most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are 50 years of age or older. Other risk factors include:
- Inherited genetic mutations
- Having dense breast tissue
- Having a personal history of cancer
- Having a family history of breast cancer
- Previously undergoing radiation therapy to the chest
- Starting menstruation before age 12
- Starting menopause after age 55
Those risk factors cannot be changed. The good news is that other risk factors can indeed be modified, such as the following.
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Overweight or obese after menopause
- Alcohol consumption
- Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy
Talk to your doctor about mammograms
Mammogram guidelines can differ, depending on the health organization issuing them. They are also subject to change over time. Every woman needs personalized recommendations from her own doctor, which takes into account her unique health history, lifestyle and preferences.
In addition to having routine mammograms, you can protect your health by doing a breast self-exam each month. This helps you become better aware of how your breasts normally look and feel. You’ll be able to detect unusual changes more easily.
MountainView Hospital is proud to offer state-of-the-art computer-aided detection, 3D digital mammography to women throughout the Las Vegas area. Our Breast Care Services team is focused on providing superior, patient-centered care that puts your needs first. For more information, call a registered nurse at (702) 962-5021.