Recommendations about when and if women should get mammograms to detect breast cancer have see some changes recently.
We sat down with a local surgeon for some clear advice about the best ways to detect cancer early.
"Many of the cancers we diagnose today would have taken an additional 5 years before they would actually be felt on an exam, so a mammogram puts us that far ahead of the game," says Dr. Cecilia Stroede, with Aspirus Wausau Hospital.
According to the American Cancer Society more than 207,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be detected in women in 2010, and nearly 40,000 women will die from it.
But a local breast cancer surgeon says mammograms are the key to early detection.
"We diagnose most breast cancer, in this part of the country, in stage 1 or stage 0, at the absolute earliest point that we can detect it, that gives the cancer treating team a really good chance at treating or curing it," she says.
For women at an average risk, you should start getting yearly mammograms at age 40.
And for women at a moderate to high risk because of family history or other factors, yearly mammograms and sometimes MRI's start as early as age 25.
She says, "Dig a little bit in the family history because I think that's sometimes maybe one or two generations ago they didn't talk about cancer or anything, so a lot of people don't know much about their family history at all."
She says not only will you have an idea if you're at risk, you could save your own life.
"A mammogram isn't that bad you know, they worked on their technique, we now have digital screening mammograms, the images are much better, they done much more quickly," says Dr. Stroede.
For more information on mammograms and breast cancer, click on the link below.
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