DES MOINES —
Among women, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer other than skin cancer. Breast cancer is also the second-leading cause of cancer death in women (after lung cancer).
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can help save lives and fuel the fight to end breast cancer by encouraging your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others to stay well by taking steps to help reduce their risk of developing breast cancer and find it early, when it is easier to treat. By collaborating with the American Cancer Society, you can also connect others facing breast cancer to programs and services to help them focus on getting well. Currently, 1 in 2 recently diagnosed women reach out to the American Cancer Society for help and support.
Getting a yearly mammogram is the most important action women can take to find breast cancer early — before physical symptoms develop — when the disease is most treatable.
By following the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer screening guidelines, women can take steps to stay well:
Yearly mammograms should begin at age 40 and continue for as long as a woman is in good health.
A breast exam should be part of a periodic health exam — about every three years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women age 40 and older.
Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change to a health care professional right away. Breast self-exam is an option for women starting in their 20s.
The American Cancer Society also recommends that women at high risk of breast cancer —because of family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors — be screened with MRI in addition to mammograms.