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What to Know About Breast Cancer
The risk of breast cancer is a reality for all women. It is important to know about the risks and the options you have available. Many things can affect your risk of developing breast cancer. Your genes play an important role. There is an inherited gene in your DNA that may increase your risk. It may only show up in one woman in a family. It cannot be predicted where the gene will show up. However, genetics are not the only factor that could contribute to developing breast cancer. In fact, many different factors can play a role. Your diet, race, where you have lived, water or air pollution and your activity level can increase the chances of your getting breast cancer. Your doctor can talk to you about your risks. Get help by talking to your doctor about a breast cancer screening.
Breast Cancer Screenings
Talk to your doctor about a breast cancer screening. Your health plan provides breast cancer screenings. This is at no charge to you. A breast cancer screening is a special x-ray of your breasts. The scan looks for cancers in their early stages. This X-ray is also known as a mammogram. These screenings do not prevent breast cancer. But they can find cancers when they are smaller and easier to treat. This is why it is important to talk with your doctor about a breast cancer screening. Different women should start screenings at different times. This depends on medical and family history. For example, if a woman has had close family members with cancer, she may want to be screened earlier. If no one else in your family has had breast cancer, you may still be at risk. You should still get screened.
What if My Mammogram Shows a Problem?
A mammogram can save your life. Mammograms can show tumors that may be cancer long before they can be felt. Treating tumors when they are still small makes curing cancer easier.
Mammograms can show if the inside of the breast. It can tell if everything looks normal. But a mammogram cannot show for sure whether you have breast cancer. This may require more testing.
You may have a mammogram that does not look normal. If so, your doctor will likely suggest a biopsy. This is a tissue sample of the breast. A biopsy is minor surgery. The breast tissue from a biopsy is tested in a laboratory. The results will let your doctor know if it is cancerous. Your doctor will then talk with you about next steps.
Do you have questions? Do you want to find a place to get a mammogram? Call the customer service number on the back or your card. They will be happy to help you or answer your questions.
Early detection is key to surviving breast cancer.