October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In Georgia, 5,235 women are diagnosed each year with breast cancer. Of those, 1,062 die from the disease each year.
While breast cancer occurs more often in white women, black women are more likely to die from it. Early detection can reduce death rates for all women. If breast cancer is found and treated before it can spread, the survival rate after five years is 98 percent. If a change in breast tissue that may lead to breast cancer is treated before it becomes cancer, survival is almost 100 percent.
To aid in early detection, the American Cancer Society recommends:
• Yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.
• Clinical breast exams every three years for women in their 20s and 30s and annually for women 40 and older.
• Women reporting any changes to their breasts promptly to their health care providers. Breast self-exam is an option for women starting in their 20s.
• An MRI and a mammogram every year for women who may be at high or at moderately high risk. A doctor should decide the risk.