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Early detection, early cure

By Lt. Leslie A. Rasner, Arlington Naval Annex Medical Clinic and Sgt. A.C. Strong, Marine Corps News | | October 20, 2000

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This year, approximately 40,800 women will die from breast cancer. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and an opportune time to discuss breast cancer screening, diagnosis, and survival.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 182,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in women; second only to skin cancer.

Men are not excluded from this deadly form of cancer. For every 100 women, one man is diagnosed with breast cancer.

You, or someone you care about, may already have this disease. But diagnosis doesn't have to equal a death sentence. Nearly 97% of women diagnosed in the early stages, are survivors, according to the ACS.

Early screening and diagnosis are the keys to surviving breast cancer. All women over the age of 20 should perform regular breast self-exams. Women age 20-39 should have a clinical breast exam (an exam by a doctor or nurse) every 3 years. Those 40 years and older should have a mammogram and clinical breast exam every year.

Mammography can prevent thousands of breast cancer deaths each year by detecting cancers several years before a woman or her health care provider might detect a lump. 

You owe it to yourself. Breast cancer can't be prevented, but it can be cured with early detection. Physical activity, good nutrition, and certain drugs may lower a woman's risk of getting the disease.

For more information, please contact your nearest medical facility, or go online to: http://www.komen.org/ or the American Cancer Society's web page, http://www.cancer.org/.
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