National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women and is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Risk assessment and regular screenings are both very important in detecting breast cancer early.

According to the American Cancer Society, the average risk of a woman in the US developing breast cancer at some point in her lifetime is roughly 12% or 1 in 8. Certain risk factors such as family history of breast and other cancers, reproductive history, age and alcohol and tobacco use can increase your chance of developing breast cancer.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends clinical breast exams every 1-3 years for women ages 25-39 and annually for women over the age of 40. Clinical breast exams will be performed at your yearly well woman exam with your provider at Capital Women’s Care. The recommendation for yearly mammograms is to begin at age 40. Based on risk factors, the starting age for screening mammograms may differ and other imaging tools such as breast MRI may be recommended, as well.

Family history of breast cancer as well as ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancers or family members diagnosed at a younger age can increase your risk of breast cancer. At Capital Women’s Care, we will take a detailed family history to assess your risk for genetic cancer syndromes and make recommendations accordingly to be tested for genes like the BRCA mutation. We are now offering in-office genetic cancer testing that will allow you to speak with a genetic counselor over the phone and have testing completed in our office. Based on genetic testing, family and personal history, we can make recommendations on breast cancer screening for you.

Here at Capital Women’s Care, we want to provide you the most comprehensive information about breast cancer, your personal risk and screening recommendations. Contact Capital Women’s Care today to schedule your next well woman exam!

Morgan Wilkerson, PA-C

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