Fall colors are now yellow, gold, and….pink! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the most common cancer in American women. Deaths have actually dropped by forty percent over the last two decades, thanks to early detection and prevention efforts. Detection of a lump on self-exam or an abnormal mammogram are still the most common ways it is discovered. BRCA analysis is a genetic test that is highly predictive for breast cancer. It was made famous by actress Angelina Jolie, who underwent preventative mastectomy because of her BRCA test.
What to do: Ask your doctor what method of screening is most appropriate for you. For most women in their twenties and thirties, self-exams and annual clinical exams are sufficient. Annual mammograms should be started between thirty-five and forty, depending on your medical history. If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or you are of Eastern European descent, talk to your doctor about the BRCA test.
Thought for the day: If you’re due for screening, why delay? Early treatment could save YOUR day!
What’s Going Around is contributed by family practice doctor Kyle Scarborough, M.D. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.