Breast cancer: Early detection is key

By Tanya Davis | Published Wednesday, October 16, 2013

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Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the U.S. It is also one of the leading causes of cancer death among women of all races.

The best prevention of breast cancer is early detection, which is why it is important that women receive annual mammogram screenings. Research has shown mammograms reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer. Early detection of breast cancer leads to a greater range of treatment options, including less-aggressive surgery. The American Cancer Society recommends that women receive a mammogram annually beginning at age 40. As a woman ages, her chances of developing breast cancer increase. As long as a woman is in good health and would be a good candidate for breast cancer treatment, she should continue to be screened with an annual mammogram. If there is a question about a woman being a good candidate, she should thoroughly discuss it with her physician.

Some women choose not to get mammograms because of the cost. Most health insurance plans fully cover the screenings without any out-of-pocket expenses for the patient. This is also required of Medicare. For uninsured women and those not eligible for Medicare, resources are available.

To help women learn about these resources and how to access them, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Wise County will be conducting a Friend to Friend party 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Bridgeport Community Center, 1102 Lawdin Ave. Dr. Sheilaine Mabanta from the Cancer Center at Wise Regional will provide information about both breast and cervical cancers. There will also be discussion of the obstacles that prevent women from getting mammograms and Pap tests. Exhibitors will be present, and participants will have an opportunity to schedule a mammogram screening.

To learn more about the Friend to Friend party, call the Extension office at 940-627-3341.

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