SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Every 2.5 minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast
Significant progress has been made in mammography technology to assist
physicians in diagnosing the disease at an early stage, usually before
physical symptoms develop. When breast cancer is diagnosed at an early
stage, before it has spread to lymph nodes or other locations in the body,
the five-year survival rate is 98 percent. As a result of improved early
detection, breast cancer survivors make up the largest group of cancer
For more than 20 years, October has been designated National Breast Cancer
Awareness Month. Throughout the month, the American Cancer Society
encourages women age 40 and older to make an appointment for an annual
mammogram. Mammography screening is the most effective method of early
detection and has been proven to increase treatment options and save lives.
Free and low-cost mammograms are available to women who are low-income,
uninsured or underinsured. The American Cancer Society will connect women
with these resources.
Besides being female, age is the most important risk factor that affects
breast cancer risk. The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer
increases with age. Of the women diagnosed with breast cancer, 95 percent
are age 40 and older. Race is another important risk factor. Black and
American Indian women are more likely to die of the disease because their
cancers are often diagnosed later, thereby increasing the seriousness of
the cancer. Other risk factors include obesity, consuming more than two
alcohol drinks daily, and a family or personal history of breast cancer.
For more information about breast cancer or to learn how you can receive a
free or low-cost mammogram, call (800) ACS-2345 and ask for the American
Cancer Society Navigator, or visit www.cancer.org.