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Have You Had Your Mammogram Yet?

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month-have you had your mammogram yet this year? It can't be repeated enough that early detection is the best weapon against breast cancer. Early diagnosis has helped decrease deaths from breast cancer significantly in the past decade. Still, 41,000 women will die this year of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 14,000 of these premature deaths could be prevented if all women over 50 had mammograms each year.

Most doctors recommend that their patients have a baseline mammogram at age 35. Why not earlier? Two reasons. First, mammograms are not as reliable or helpful in evaluating the more dense breasts of younger women. Second, the incidence of breast cancer increases dramatically between ages 30 and 35. One of 2500 30-year olds have breast cancer; that number jumps to one of 600 35 year olds. By 40, one in 217 women will have breast cancer and one of 50 fifty year olds will be affected. The percentages continue to increase as women age, until 92 when one in 8 women will have breast cancer.

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Created: 10/4/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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