Regardless of age, race, or family history, all women – and about 1% of men – have some level of risk for breast cancer. Primary risk factors include age and gender, along with a number of other factors, such as obesity and alcohol use, which can be moderated through healthy lifestyle choices. Today, there are many types of effective treatments for breast cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy, to mention a few. Research is ongoing to bring more promising treatment options to patients.
Importance of Early Detection
Identifying any type of cancer at an early stage, before it has spread extensively (metastasis), provides a much better outcome for patients. Florida Cancer Specialists’ physicians concur with the American Cancer Society’s recommendation that women over 40, with no family history of breast cancer, should get a mammogram once a year; for women under 40 a clinical breast exam is
recommended at least once every three years. In addition, monthly breast self-examinations can be an effective way of discovering any changes in the normal look and feel of the breasts.
Impact of COVID-19 on Breast Cancer Screenings
During the coronavirus crisis, many women are wondering if it is safe to go to certain medical appointments, including scheduled mammograms. Screening mammograms – at every age – are one of the best ways to diagnose breast cancer early, when it’s most treatable. Women will need to make an informed decision with their physician as to whether to get a mammogram during COVID-19.
Remember – even if you are diagnosed with breast cancer, it does not necessarily increase your risk of having more serious complications if you do get COVID-19; however, for people in active treatment for breast or any type of cancer, there may be a higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19 if your treatments cause you to become immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system) or have lung problems.
Screening Guidelines for Women 55 to 75
The American Cancer Society (ACS) screening guidelines recommend that women ages 55 to 75 at average risk for breast cancer, with no family history, can be screened every one to two years. If you are between 55 and 75 and had a normal mammogram within the last year, you could choose to have your next mammogram up to 24 months after your last one, so that you don’t have to be screened during the pandemic.
Are Mammograms Necessary for Women Over 75?
Considering that older people have a higher risk for COVID-19, some are questioning whether mammograms are even necessary after the age of 75 for women with no family history of breast cancer, and a record of normal mammograms. The ACS recommends that women should continue screening mammography as long as their overall health is good and they have a life expectancy of 10 years or longer.
One study, cited by BreastCancer.org, confirmed the benefits of regular mammograms and emphasized that there is no upper age limit for mammograms.
Can Breast Cancer Be Inherited?
Certain types of breast cancer do seem to run in some families; however, it is important to understand that what is inherited is the abnormal (mutated) gene that could lead to breast cancer, not the cancer itself.
The most common genetic risk factors for breast cancer are in women who have changes to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Women with this inherited gene mutation have up to an 80% chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetimes. If you have a close relative (mother, sister, daughter, etc.) with breast cancer, you should speak with your doctor about genetic testing.
Florida Cancer Specialists treats patients with all types of cancer, and offers a number of services, such as an in-house specialty pharmacy, an in-house pathology lab and financial counselors at every location, that deliver the most advanced and personalized care in your local community.
Florida Cancer Specialists
For more information, visit FLCancer.com
7651 Medical Drive
Hudson, FL 34667
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Hudson, FL 34667
New Port Richey
8763 River Crossing Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL 34655
New Port Richey West
5802 State Road 54
New Port Richey, FL 34652
26823 Tanic Drive
Wesley Chapel, Florida 33544
38010 Medical Center Ave
Zephyrhills, FL 33540
1920 Don Wickham Way, Suite 100
Clermont, Florida 34711
9832 US Highway 441, Suite 101
Leesburg, FL 34788-3984
601 E Dixie Ave., Suite 1001
Leesburg, FL 34748
1600 West Main Street
Leesburg, FL 34748-2811
4100 Waterman Way
Tavares, FL 32778
Villages Buenos Aires
1503 Buenos Aires Blvd
The Villages, Florida 32162
Villages Cancer Center
1400 N US Highway 441, Suite 540
The Villages, Florida 32159
1400 N US Highway 441, Suite 924
Lady Lake, Florida 32159
1630 SE 18th St.
Ocala, FL 34471
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4945 SW 49th Place
Ocala, Florida 34474