10/20/2014

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October is "Breast Cancer Awareness Month"

October is "Breast Cancer Awareness Month"
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October is "Breast Cancer Awareness Month".

Studies have shown most deaths from breast cancer occur in unscreened women, so, many experts urge women to start getting a regular mammogram before age 50.

Early detection is key, especially in younger women, said Dr. Katherine Lee, who treats breast cancer patients at Cleveland Clinic.

"The biology of breast cancer is different in younger women. It tends to be more aggressive, found later, usually with lymph node involvement or spread outside of the breast and that increases your chances of dying from breast cancer," said Lee, who recommends women start regular mammograms in their 40's.

That is in sync with the American Cancer Society's recommendation of getting the first mammogram by age 35, then a yearly mammogram beginning at age 40.  Clinical exams by your doctor detect changes, but self exams are also critical.

"Women are going to find the cancer, I think, a lot earlier if they're doing their self-exams because you're basically looking for changes in your breast tissue," said Lee.

Doctors say the best time to do a self breast exam, is 3 to 5 days after your cycle.

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