Mercy Health talks about Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lives, which means you or someone you know might be at risk.

Dr. Jessica Keto, a fellowship-trained breast surgeon and medical director of Mercy Health Comprehensive Breast Center, is here to talk about the importance of getting screened for breast cancer.

Screening mammography has been shown in randomized control trials to decrease a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer by over 40 percent. It is the only proven screening tool to decrease breast cancer mortality. Being diagnosed by mammography often leads to less aggressive treatments.

There are multiple types of mammograms, including 3D mammography, or tomosynthesis. 3D mammography is a newer technique that is more accurate in the screening setting, especially for women with dense breasts. It increases a radiologist's ability to detect breast cancers and it reduces the need to have additional testing following a screening mammogram.

Women who are 40 years or older should get annual screening mammograms. Those who have a strong family history of breast cancer or certain genetic alterations may want to talk to their doctor about earlier “high risk” screening options.

Women can be more aware of their breast health by knowing what is normal for them. Doing a monthly self-breast exam is an important tool to help recognizes any changes.

Also, knowing what the personal risk for breast cancer is and learning how to manage that risk. Mercy Health offers a RiskPlus program and genetic counseling to help with this process.  

When it comes to risk factors for breast cancer, there are many things a person can change, while others can't.

Risk factors people can change include:

  • Postmenopausal obesity
  • Use of combined estrogen and progestin menopausal hormones
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Physical inactivity
  • Some environmental exposures

Risk factors people can't change include:

  • Gender – simply being a woman is the main risk factor
  • Aging – your risk increases as you get older
  • Genetic risk factors – about 5-10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary.

Learn more at MercyHealth.com/Breast-Care or 616.685.4000

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