Editorial: Month brings reminder of the importance of yearly exams

Published 9:13 pm Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Each year in the United States, more than 245,000 women get breast cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. It can impact men as well, though at a much lower rate.

According to the CDC, most cases of breast cancer are found in women over 50, but about 10% of all new cases in the United States are in women younger than 45.

We have seen the impacts of this horrible disease time and time again in our own community in women both young and old.

This month, in light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we encourage women to be proactive in the fight against breast cancer and make regular screenings as a top priority.

The American Cancer Society states that breast cancer that’s found early is easier to treat successfully.

Women at average breast cancer risk have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year if they are between ages 40 and 44. Women ages 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year, and women 55 and older can switch to mamograms every other year or continue yearly mammograms, the Cancer Society recommends.

Women at high risk of breast cancer based on various factors should get a breast MRI and mammogram every year.

Women should also be familiar with their own bodies and conduct regular self breast exams.

Though strides are being made in the treatment of breast cancer, it is critical to make efforts to have yearly exams and to take these issues seriously. The same is true for other types of cancers.

You know your body best. If you’re feeling anything is out of sorts, have it checked by a doctor. You’ll thank yourself later.