LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Female breast cancer is now the number one cancer diagnosis worldwide. What’s new for the first time is that it has surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly-diagnosed cancer type in the world.
Now, more than ever, women need to do regular screenings and breast self exams.
When the report was published in the Cancer Journal for Clinicians, it was a real eye opener. Breast cancer is more common in women than lung cancer. Some breast cancer risk factors, such as family history and age, can’t be changed.
But steps can be taken to lower risk, including weight control, limiting alcohol intake, regular exercise, and breast cancer screening.
Patty Crowell is a mammography supervisor at Desert Radiology.
“If she knows her own body, she’s gonna notice those tiny changes. Your fingers are going to tell your brain, ‘hey wait, back up, I feel something.’ That’s usually the first time they notice there’s something not quite right. It may be benign but it’s not worth taking a chance,” Crowell said.
It’s especially important for women with dense breast tissue, which affects about half of women under 50.
It can make it difficult to spot cancers on mammograms. It also increases the risk for developing cancer, because the cells in the glands tend to divide frequently, leading to mistakes or mutations.
“Mammograms are very simple. They’re really not that uncomfortable, very short amount of radiation. A short window of time and it can save your life,” Crowell stressed.
Women who’ve been told that they have dense breasts might wish to speak to their doctors about the best screening strategy for their needs, especially since other factors, like age or medical history, may also impact their overall risk.