Early detection is key to survival: Women encouraged to have annual mammograms

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 18, 2001

Special to The Messenger

Next to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer found among American women.

Raising awareness of the risk of breast cancer is the only way to reduce the number of women diagnosed.

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On Friday, Oct. 19, National Mammography Day will be observed to educate women, encouraging them to receive annual mammograms to help detect cancerous breast changes.

This year, approximately 190,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 40,000 American women will lose their lives to this horrible disease. In Alabama alone, more than 2,900 will learn they have cancer and 600 will die.

Mammography is the most important means of early detection because the simple, low-dose breast x-rays can detect lumps as small as pinheads, long before physical symptoms can be seen or felt. And, when breast cancer is detected and treated in its early stages, it is 97 percent curable.

The American Cancer Society recommended women receive annual mammograms beginning at age 40, along with annual breast exams by a physician and regular, monthly breast self-exams.

For more information about breast cancer, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.