Breast cancer prevention: What you need to know

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  • Renee S. Tice, Mammography Technologist at Habersham Medical Center helps a patient receive a mammography examination.
    Renee S. Tice, Mammography Technologist at Habersham Medical Center helps a patient receive a mammography examination.
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   The Northeast Georgian spoke with medical staff at Habersham Medical Center to learn more about preventative measures for breast cancer. 

What preventative measures should women take when considering breast cancer? (i.e. how often do you need to get checked?)

   “For women at average risk for breast cancer, annual screening mammograms begins at age 40. For women at high risk annual exams may begin at age 30 and may include additional screening modalities. The American College of Radiology and the American Cancer Society recommend yearly screening mammograms.”

   – Kimberly Windham-Cope MD

At what age does breast cancer become a concern for women?

   “All women should be evaluated for breast cancer risk no later than age 30 so that those deemed at an increased risk can benefit from possible detection.

   One in six breast cancers are found in women ages 40-49. Starting yearly at age 40 has helped to decrease breast cancer deaths by 40%.”

   – Kimberly Windham-Cope MD

Are there any signs for when a woman should consider getting checked for breast cancer?

   Signs that you need to get your breast checked:

   • Nipple discharge

   • Palpable abnormality (lump)

   • Nipple retraction

   • Skin dimpling ,thickening or change in color or texture of the breast

   – Kimberly Windham-Cope MD

 Is there any other important information regarding breast cancer that the readers should know?

   “The two main risk factors for developing breast cancer are being a woman and getting older. Other important risk factors for breast cancer include family history of the disease, and inherited changes or mutations to certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2.

   The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women. Most commonly, breast cancer is asymptomatic, and often appears on a mammogram before a lump can be felt.

   Mammograms save lives. Due to mammography screening, most breast cancers in the U.S. are found at an early stage.”

   – Dee Dillin, Director of HMC Imaging

What services does Habersham Medical Center offer in regard to breast cancer?

   “HMC provides excellent quality diagnostic procedures in the area of breast evaluation. Tomosynthesis or 3D mammography is an FDA approved technology that obtains multiple images of breast tissue is available at Habersham Medical Center. Also breast sonography or ultrasound is another diagnostic procedure used in the evaluation of breast health.”

   Habersham Medical Center performed over 6,500 mammograms in 2019.

   – Dee Dillin, Director of HMC Imaging

   Dillin recommends the following sources for breast cancer information at www.ACR.org, www.americancancer.org and www.nationalbreastcancer.org.