Early Detection Saves Lives
We are all well acquainted with Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Mr. Franklin’s wisdom so aptly applies to the importance of women’s health care, including early detection of breast cancer.
I have practiced Gynecology in Springfield for 42 years and am passionate about educating women about their health, and specifically, about breast cancer. Let me share a few “vital statistics” with you:
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women- worldwide
- Every two minutes, a woman in the United states is diagnosed with breast cancer
- 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime
- More than one quarter million women in the USA will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016
Detecting breast cancer in its earliest possible stage is the key to surviving the disease. I explain to my patients that early detection requires an effort and discipline on their part. The key components to this effort are: self-breast exams, visiting your physician every year, getting an annual 3D mammogram (beginning at age 40) and leading a healthy lifestyle….don’t smoke, drink alcohol in moderation, limit eating saturated animal fat (fatty beef, lamb and pork; poultry with skin; butter; cream and cheese) and exercise regularly.
Most breast cancers are not symptomatic (there are no signs or symptoms) and 85% occur in women with NO family history--- that is why performing monthly self-exams and getting annual 3D mammograms are so imperative. A self-exam only takes two minutes to do; always choose a quiet place and follow your physician’s guidelines. BREASTCANCER.ORG has the five easy steps of a breast self-exam on their website, http://www.breastcancer.org/.
About 40% of women will discover a lump in their lifetime. The good news, according to the Cleveland Clinic, is that ~80% of breast lumps are not cancer.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that all women age 40 and older get an annual screening mammogram. Some women, with a family history or who have found a lump upon self-examination, may need a mammogram at an earlier age. I recommend 3D mammograms to my patients. 3D mammograms are far superior to the older 2D technology and detect 41% more invasive breast cancers, which, according to the American Cancer Society, account for ~ 80% of all breast cancers. Also, “call backs” for more tests are reduced by ~41% with 3D mammography. According to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, a 3-D mammogram releases the same amount of radiation as a traditional mammogram and is of no greater risk to the patient.
In summary, I encourage all women to lead a healthy and active lifestyle and be vigilant about early breast cancer detection by doing monthly breast self-examinations, visiting your physician every year and getting an annual 3D screening mammogram starting at age 40.
To learn more these he alth care topics, visit online sources such as: American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Breastcancer.org and the American Cancer Society.
Dr. James L. Cromwell is Board Certified in Obstetrics-Gynecology and Laser Surgery.
Dr. Cromwell has been a practicing Gynecologist in Springfield, OH since 1974 and is a proud investor in Ohio Valley Surgical Hospital.