BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - October 16th is National Mammography Day and two local doctors are using this day to bring awareness to the importance of breast cancer screening.
Both doctors said getting a mammogram is especially important because 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, but early detection is key.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation said that because of early detection and increased breast cancer awareness, nearly 376,000 breast cancer deaths have been prevented.
Doctors use mammograms to look for early signs of breast cancer. They said regular mammograms are the best tools doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes even when it’s pre-cancer.
The screening uses radiation, but doctors said the exposure to it is relatively low, so it can be done every year.
“Since so many women are affected with breast cancer or pre-cancer across the country, we again feel like the benefits of catching that early outweigh the very small risks,” said Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology at UAB, Dr. Rachael Lancaster.
“And we know from a lot of studies that the earlier we can detect problems with the breast, like breast cancer, the higher the survival rate and the less mortality we have with that disease,” said OB/GYN for Brookwood Women’s Health, Dr. Heather Deisher.
Information on when to start annual mammograms varies, but both doctors said women should start getting a mammogram every year after the age of 40.
They said baseline mammograms are also recommended for women between the ages of 35 and 40, so doctors can compare breast tissue over a period of time.