Health News Articles

Early Detection Key to Fighting Breast Cancer

Jul 17, 2013
Regular visits to the doctor and frequent self-examinations are the most important steps a woman can take to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. In the United States, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, and this year alone 200,000 women will learn they have the disease. The good news is that many will win the fight against breast cancer, thanks to treatment in early stages.

“There are a number of factors that can put you at higher risk of developing breast cancer, although you can develop the disease without having any of the known risk factors we have identified,” says Rachel P. Dultz, MD, FACS, a board certified, fellowship trained surgeon who specializes in breast surgery. “Being aware of your risk is important but so are regular screenings and exams.”

Breast cancer risk factors include being female (although men can and do develop the disease), increasing age (women over 55 are at greater risk), a family history of breast cancer, a prior abnormal biopsy or malignancy, or inherited gene mutations (known as BRCA1 and BRCA2). Other risk factors include being overweight, early menstruation, late-onset of menopause, having your first child after age 35, taking postmenopausal hormone therapy, radiation exposure, and drinking alcohol.

“Until we can prevent breast cancer, early detection and prompt treatment are key,” says Dr. Dultz. “Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every one to two years, while women under the age of 40 who have any of the breast cancer risk factors should discuss appropriate screening with their doctor. Regular self-examinations are also extremely important.”

The UMCPP Breast Health Center
has been designation a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. Only about five percent of the facilities nationwide have been recognized as a Center for Excellence. UMCPP is also accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment at the Breast Health Center, call 609.688.2700.