Getting an annual mammogram beginning at age forty is one of the best tools women have at their disposal to protect their health. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and this simple screening can detect breast cancers early, when they are smaller, easier to treat and the chances of survival are higher.
All women 40 years and older should have annual mammograms, based on their physician’s recommendation. Women between the ages of 20 and 39 should have a clinical breast exam (an examination performed by a physician or other health care provider) every three years. When they are 40 years old, they should begin having clinical breast exams every year. Breast self awareness is an important part of fighting breast cancer. Breast self examinations is an option for women beginning in their 20s.
In spite of the fact that mammograms can detect between 80 and 90 percent of breast cancers in women without any symptoms, recent statistics are frightening. In a study released December 9, 2010 as a part of the 2010 Breast Cancer Symposium held in San Antonio, it was revealed that only about half of women over 40 years old are getting mammograms yearly. The study also found that even among insured women, the number of women getting their yearly mammograms is lower than desired. The group of physicians and researchers participating in the symposium agree on one thing: advocating mammography is more important than ever.
According to the leaders in the industry, early detection has contributed to improvements in cancer survival rates. The 5-year relative survival rate for breast cancer patients has improved from 63% in the early 1960s to more than 90% today. If the cancer is diagnosed while localized to the breast (meaning it hasn’t spread to lymph nodes or other areas), the survival rate is 98%. That is an amazing improvement.
In 2011, we will knock on more than 10,000 doors to educate women about the importance of breast health and provide them with free mammograms right in their own neighborhoods. Because there is no cure for cancer, we believe that our work is cut out for us. Early detection is critical to helping save lives. Help us as we educate 10,000 households about the importance of breast health awareness. We are always seeking volunteers for our Saturday outreach campaigns to join our efforts where we provide free awareness, education, screenings and referrals for women in underserved neighborhoods. Please secure your participation in these life saving efforts today by signing up on our volunteer sign up page today. You too, can save a life.
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