Preventing breast cancer - KMSP-TV

Preventing breast cancer

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(WJBK) -

Among Michigan women breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed type of cancer, and it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in our state. But survival rates are going up because of early detection.

The mammogram is a screening that uses compression and X-rays to look for lumps in breast tissue. Women have been recommended to start mammograms once they're 50, but doctors are beginning to disagree with that.  

"Data clearly indicates a reduction in mortality when you start doing mammograms yearly at age 40," Dr. Eric Brown from the Troy Beaumont Breast Care Center says.  

Some concerns do come with yearly mammograms, such as the amount of radiation.

'We know ionizing radiation from a mammogram looks and destroys tissue. So when somebody is 25 we don't get a mammogram because their tissue is very proliferative, very active, and that's where ionized radiation can have negative impact," Brown continues.

But a Swedish study that compared women who had regular mammogram with those who didn't, found no negative impact from radiation. Doctors say to really beat breast cancer, in addition to mammograms, you need to know your risk from family history and genetics, and know your body.  

"If you're before screening age and you have a change in breast shape, size, color, that's going to be your only way of picking up on your cancer unless you're seeing your physician," adds Dr. Shannon Bongers, a Beaumont breast surgeon.

For women without health insurance a program does offer qualifying women free screenings and possible treatment. That program is the BCCCP, or the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program.

For more information on the BCCCP, click here.

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