Breast cancer is the second most common cancer for women, following only skin cancer. Sadly, 1-in-8 women born in the United States will contract breast cancer in their lifetime.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease has made a lot of progress, but there is still a long way to go. Raising awareness of the importance of early detection of breast cancer through mammogram screenings helps spread the good news that women survive this disease when it’s discovered and treated early.
Millions of women survive breast cancer as a direct result of early detection and treatment.
Mammograms can find cancer before symptoms show, and before you or your doctor can feel lumps or recognize changes in your breasts. Breast cancer is assessed in stages 0 to 4, and mammograms are the first line of defense in survival.
- Stage 0 – breast cancer found early; non-invasive stage; highly treatable
- Stage 1 – when the cancer is contained to the area of the first abnormal cells and detected early; very effectively treated
- Stage 2 – breast cancer is growing but contained within the breast or only extending to nearby lymph nodes; usually responds well to aggressive treatment
- Stage 3 – the cancer has extended beyond the immediate region, invading nearby lymph nodes and muscle, but not to distant organs; considered advanced; a growing number of effective treatment options are available
- Stage 4 – when the cancer has spread to other areas of the body; considered incurable; patients are living longer by treating the disease as a chronic condition; stage 4 cancer may respond to a number of treatment options that can extend life
Breast cancer is survivable, and survival starts with screening. Your doctor will suggest screenings before you have cancer symptoms. When found early, cancer responds well to treatment. Left undetected or untreated, it can spread into surrounding tissue and becomes harder to fight.
You can make a difference! Schedule your mammogram, and follow through with your appointment. Encourage others to schedule and have a mammogram. Be a crusader. Be a survivor. Survival starts with screening.
Riverview Regional Medical Center provides breast cancer screenings in Carthage, Tennessee. Call 615-735-5164 for more information.