Become involved in breast cancer screening now

Lisa F. Baron, M.D., Chief of Mammography, Hollings Mammography Center

Why should you become involved in breast cancer screening now?

Breast cancer is the number one cancer in women. Sometime in your life, you’re likely to be touched by someone who has had breast cancer. It may be your friend, neighbor, coworker, mother, sister, grandmother, or aunt. It may be you.

You may think you are not at risk because no other woman in your family has had breast cancer. Yet 70 to 75 percent of all women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. This is a scary statistic, but thankfully most breast cancers are detected early when the chance for cure is high and surgery is minimal. In fact most patients do not require a mastectomy (complete removal of the breast), but instead are eligible for a lumpectomy (removal of the cancer only, thus sparing the remainder of the breast).

The American Cancer Society (, 1-800-ACS-2345) provides free literature about breast cancer screening. The society stresses three important approaches to breast cancer screening: monthly self-breast examinations, yearly clinical examinations by a health care provider and yearly mammograms beginning at age 40. Studies have proven that breast cancer screening reduces mortality (death from cancer) from 30 to 40 percent in patients over age 50.

Now is the best time for you to begin screening for breast cancer. Since there is no way to prevent breast cancer, the best defense against it is through constant vigilance. An early change on the mammogram or in the physical examination may be an indication that cancer is present. It doesn’t matter if you are 20, 40, 60 or older. Make a commitment to begin now.

For further information regarding breast cancer screening or to schedule a mammogram, please call the Hollings Mammography Center at (843) 792-1999.

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