It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to honor those who lost their battle with the disease and to support family and friends fighting against it.
Awareness campaigns in Phoenix and around the world stress the importance of getting screenings and advanced technology is leading to more accurate diagnoses so breast cancer may be detected and treated in its earliest stages, Sherry R. Gage, director of oncology services at Abrazo Central Campus at 2000 W. Bethany Home Road, said.
In Arizona, the age-adjusted rate of new female breast cancer cases was 115 per 100,000 women in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One out of every eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Some of the advancements in technology helping detect and treat breast cancer include 3D mammography, breast ultrasound, breast MRIs and stereotactic and ultrasound-guided biopsies. There also is a more concerted effort to educate patients and their families and caregivers, Gage said. Around 80-percent of breast cancers occur in women with no family history or known risk factors, she added.
Gage said three-dimensional mammography has proven it significantly increases detection of early-stage breast cancer. Screening should start at age 40 but anyone with a family history might need to be screened at a younger age.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation offers free mammograms. To find a location, visit www.nationalbreastcancer.org/national-mammography-program.
For more information about the Breast Health Center at Abrazo Central Campus at 2000 W. Bethany Home Road, visit www.abrazohealth.com/services/oncology/breast-cancer.