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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Early detection saves lives!

Did you know that, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime? Experts estimate that there will be more than 276,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in the U.S. in 2020.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s the perfect time to remind you that early detection is the best way to fight the second most common type of cancer among women.

You can detect breast cancer early by either performing a routine self-breast exam or scheduling an appointment with our providers for a digital mammogram.

Importance of doing self-check exams and getting regular mammograms

How often should I do a self-check exam?

One of the easiest ways you can help detect breast cancer early is by performing a self-breast exam each month. Breast self-exams help you to become familiar with how your breasts look and feel so that you may detect any abnormal changes and report them to your healthcare provider.

According to the John Hopkins Medical Center, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is important.”

Kassie Shoup, ARNP

“Performing a routine self-breast exam is essential to your long-term health and well-being,”  says Kassie Shoup, ARNP, who specializes in women’s health and is one of our committed providers at Dopson Family Medical Center. “If you feel a lump or an unusual growth during your check, call our office and schedule an appointment. We’ll help you find the right treatment moving forward.”

The National Breast Cancer Foundation provides a thorough explanation of how to perform a self-breast exam.

When should I get a mammogram?

In addition to doing breast self-exams, it’s important to schedule a yearly appointment for a mammogram. Breast tumors can be detected by a mammogram before they can be felt, so it’s important to get screened for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment.

Kate Bennett, MD

“We recommend women ages 40 and older get a mammogram every 1 to 2 years,” says Dr. Kate Bennett, one of our doctors at Dopson Family Medical Center. “If you’re age 40 or younger and have risk factors for breast cancer or a family history of the disease, we recommend that you visit our clinic so we can help identify how often you should get a mammogram.”

Breast cancer can affect men

Breast cancer can also affect men, but it is rare – less than 1% of all cases develop in men. Even so, men carry a higher mortality rate than women since there is less awareness of this disease among males, which can cause a delay in seeking necessary treatment.

Men can also perform monthly breast self-exams to check for abnormal lumps or changes in breast tissue. It’s also important to discuss any abnormalities with your provider to ensure early detection.

Annual mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer for those with an average risk. Our providers, Dr. Kate Bennett and Kassie Shoup, ARNP, can help you with your women’s care and breast health concerns. Call our office at Dopson Family Medical Center at 904-259-7815 to schedule an appointment – we’re open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ed Fraser Memorial Hospital is an ACR Accredited facility and offers state-of-the-art digital mammography as well as convenient scheduling. To schedule a screening, call our office at 904-259-3151.