October is nationally recognized Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Vilas County Public Health Department wants you to know the facts on breast cancer, and what you can do to prevent it.
At present, breast cancer is the second leading cancer killer of American women (following lung cancer). Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States.
However, with increased use of mammography screening and self-breast exams, breast cancers are detected earlier in their development when they are more treatable.
Any woman can get breast cancer. The chance increases as a woman gets older.
“The good news is that breast cancer is very treatable”, Pam Pedersen, Vilas County Public Health Department RN said. Mammography can catch the cancer in early stages.
Discovering breast cancer early gives you a much greater chance of complete recovery. Yet two out of five Wisconsin women 50 and older did not get a mammogram last year. Don’t let fear stop you from getting regular check-ups.
A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. It can find breast cancer that is too small for you, your doctor, or nurse to feel. Studies show that if you are in your forties or older, having a mammogram every 1 to 2 years could save your life. Getting a mammogram every year is part of staying healthy after you turn 50.
If all women over 50 followed guidelines for regular annual mammograms, the number of deaths could be reduced by 30 percent and the lives of 13,000 women could be saved annually, according to the American Cancer Society.
Ask your doctor or nurse about getting a mammogram. If you need financial assistance in obtaining a mammogram, you may be eligible for the Wisconsin Well Woman Program. The WWWP is available to women age 45-64, based on income.
If you are a Vilas County resident and are interested in finding out if you are eligible, call Pam Pedersen, RN, BSN at the Vilas County Public Health Department, at 715-479-3757.