The recent death of singer-actress Olivia Newton-John after a 30-year battle with breast cancer reminds us that after more than four decades of intense focus on the disease and billions of dollars in research, breast cancer continues to threaten women’s lives.
Breast cancer by the numbers
Breast cancer remains second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer in American women. Other cautionary numbers include:
- Second to lung cancer as leading cause of cancer death in women
- One-in-eight chance for U.S. women to develop breast cancer
- 13% average risk for a woman having breast cancer at some point in her life
- 40% drop in mortality rates since 1989
- 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.
Detecting the disease early and getting advanced cancer treatment continue to be the best defenses to prevent deaths from breast cancer. Regular screening mammograms help find breast cancer at an early stage, when treatment is most successful.
Guidelines for breast cancer screenings
The following guidelines are recommended to help women take charge of breast health:
- Be familiar with how breasts normally look and feel and immediately report any changes to a healthcare provider;
- Begin screening mammograms between ages 40 and 44;
- Continue annual mammograms from ages 45 to 54;
- At age 55, women of average risk continue annual or biennial mammograms;
- Continue screenings as long as a woman is in good health and expects to live another 10 years or more.
Resources for Information
To learn more about breast cancer symptoms, risks, treatments, and guidelines contact Thibodaux Regional Cancer Institute at 985.493.4008.