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October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

Breast cancer affects thousands of Canadians every year and the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Canadian women. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, an estimated 28,600 Canadian women would be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2022. While breast cancer can affect individuals of all ages and backgrounds, the risk increases with age, with the majority of cases occurring in women aged 50 and older. While it can be a frightening diagnosis, advancements in medical science have made early detection and successful treatment more attainable than ever before. One of the most crucial tools in this fight against breast cancer is regular breast cancer screening.


Understanding Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast. It can occur in both men and women, but it is most common among women. The exact cause of breast cancer is often complex and not fully understood, but several risk factors, including genetics, age, hormonal factors, and lifestyle, can contribute to its development. However, what is clear is that early detection plays a pivotal role in improving the prognosis and survival rates of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer.

Screening allows for the early detection of breast cancer before people become symptomatic. When breast cancer is detected at an early stage, it is often more treatable and has a higher chance of a positive outcome. For those individual's who have breast cancer detected in screening (before they are symptomatic) the survival rate 5 years after diagnosis is 96%. This means that individuals who undergo routine screenings are more likely to survive breast cancer than those who are diagnosed after they are symptomatic.


Breast Cancer Awareness pink ribbon and profile of a women
October is breast cancer awareness month

Methods of Breast Cancer Screening

  1. Mammography: Mammograms are the most common and widely used screening tool for breast cancer. This X-ray examination can detect tumors that are too small to be felt during a physical examination. It is recommended that screening start at the age of 40. However, depending on your personal or family history screening may be recommended at an earlier stage.

  2. Ultrasound and MRI: In some cases, ultrasound and MRI may be used as supplementary screening tools, particularly for women with a higher risk of breast cancer due to factors like genetics.

Conclusion

Breast cancer is a serious disease, but early detection through regular breast cancer screening can make all the difference. Women of all ages should be proactive about their breast health, discussing their risk factors and screening options with their healthcare providers. Breast cancer awareness and regular breast cancer screening empowers individuals to take control of their health and is a crucial step toward saving lives. Should you not have access to a health care provider and wish to discuss screening options further then please book an appointment with one of our physicians at CanScreenBC.com.

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