Island Scene Online

Printer Friendly

Health > More Health StoriesFall 2011 IS Magazine

What You Need to Know about Breast Cancer

The key is early detection.

By Ignacio Lobos

I work for a cancer research center and make time to remind friends about Breast Cancer Awareness Month each October. And it’s not just part of my job: I have friends who have endured breast cancer, and my mom recently spent a few worrisome weeks waiting for a second opinion following a mammogram.

First, some encouraging news. While breast cancer remains the most common type of cancer among women, it’s becoming more treatable. The five-year survival rate for all women diagnosed with breast cancer now stands at nearly 90 percent.

Today, most women who have been treated for breast cancer are expected to live a full life without a recurrence. Survival rates get even better when breast cancer is detected before it spreads, with a five-year survival rate of 98 percent.

The key, of course, is detecting cancer at its earliest stages. That’s why women should have a clinical breast exam (manual examination of the breasts by an ob-gyn or other medical professional) at least every three years, starting in their early 20s.

Women age 40 and over should also have a mammogram (breast X-ray) every one to two years. Talk to your doctor about how often you should have a mammogram.

 
Island Scene Online is not intended to replace the advice of health care professionals. Please consult your physician for your personal needs and before making any changes in your lifestyle.
HMSA An Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
HMSA is licensed to operate in the state of Hawaii. Legal Notices.
© 2014 Hawaii Medical Service Association All Rights Reserved.