Breast cancer is the leading cancer diagnosed among women. In 2008, an estimated of 182,460 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed, and more than 40,480 women will die of the disease and is second to lung cancer as the most common cause of cancer death in the U.S. Women in the United States have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer by the time they reach their 90’s. The single most important factor for surviving breast cancer is the stage at which the disease is detected. The survival rate for early stage disease is 97%. It is 77% for disease, which has spread to the nearby lymph nodes, and 21% for distant metastatic disease.
In adolescence, the breast tissue is very dense; however, as women age, the dense breast tissue is infiltrated with fat cells, which allows for greater penetration of the x-rays used in mammograms. Women who have a first-degree relative with breast cancer should have their initial breast mammogram performed at 30 years of age, and then every two years until she is 40. Women without an immediate family history should begin mammogram screening at 35 and then every two years until 40. After 40, the accuracy of the mammogram greatly increases as the amount of fat replacement becomes more significant and mammograms should be performed annually
Self-breast examinations should be performed on the last day of each menstrual period during the reproductive years. When a woman ceases menstruating, she is recommended to perform the self-exam on the first day of each calendar month. Remember, when performing self-breast exams, you are looking only for a change that you didn’t notice on previous self-exams (such as an area of thickening, or a small lump, or tenderness). When you do not find anything new or different, you can trust there is generally nothing to find.
Contact Dr. Gordon Gunn today at (714) 912-2211 to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Gordon Gunn also proudly serves Anaheim, Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut, and surrounding areas.