Your Breasts Are Not Ticking Time Bombs
“One in eight” is the scary, ubiquitous statistic that rings like a tolling bell and weighs every woman down with the threat of breast cancer. We all know someone who has had it, fought it, maybe beat it, or worse, succumbed. It seems like it is everywhere. As a breast cancer surgeon, I see women in my office every day worried that this time, they are going to hear me say, “it’s cancer.”
At Bedford Breast Center, we understand that your breast health is vital to you, and with our advanced technology and techniques, we can give you accurate, timely results after each screening. We use 3D mammography to ensure fewer callbacks, earlier detection, and less radiation.
What Does “One in Eight” Really Mean?
The statistic “one in eight” comes from data obtained by the National Cancer Institute that looks at current rates of women diagnosed with breast cancer and projects the chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer at any time in life, up to your 90s.
Most people believe this statistic applies to them always, but the chances of having breast cancer are low when you are young and increase as you age. The possibility of developing breast cancer in your 30s is 0.44%, whereas the chance in your 60s is 3.5%. If we look at this the other way, though, a 60-year-old has a 96.5% chance of not getting breast cancer. Looking at age alone, your chance of never developing breast cancer is much higher than your chance of getting it. Always remember: diagnosis doesn’t equal death.
Why Does Breast Cancer Seem So Prevalent?
Breast cancer deaths have decreased by 34% from 1990 to 2013, thanks to effective medicines, advances in surgery, and early detection. Survivors are everywhere we look, which creates a feeling that breast cancer is common. In fact, lung cancer kills more women every year than breast cancer. However, the fear of dying from lung cancer is not prevalent in our society.
Being proactive about detection, staying on top of your screening schedule, understanding family history, and bringing any findings in your breast tissue to your doctor’s attention does not have to be a terrifying exercise. Most areas seen on imaging or areas felt on exams prove to be non-cancerous.
For many women, the idea of getting a mammogram is scary because they do not want to face the possibility of getting a positive diagnosis. If this applies to you, remember that statistics are actually in your favor. If you establish a regular mammogram schedule, you can feel at ease every year and not build up a fear of your results.
Breast Cancer and Genetics
While most breast cancers are not associated with broken genes or genetic mutations, discussing your family history with your doctor is an important exercise when considering a breast cancer risk. A pattern of cancer on either side of your family can generate concern, especially to healthy family members worried that they might get cancer in the future. However, a simple saliva sample is all that is required to know the truth—no needle sticks needed!
Fewer than 10% of patients with a family history or personal history of breast cancer will find that this is due to a genetic mutation. Most patients with breast cancer have this as a happenstance with otherwise healthy genes.
Is Breast Cancer a Life Sentence? Treatments are Available
The fear of getting breast cancer comes from the fear of what would happen if you got breast cancer. Many believe there is no cure or hope for a regular life after the disease, but breast cancer treatments are becoming more effective, and techniques are getting more precise. The five-year survival rate for all women—regardless of age or other factors—is 89%, and that rate increases to 98% for women whose cancer hasn’t spread beyond the breast.
Additionally, with advanced detection techniques, we can discover cancer sooner and see how far it’s spread more clearly. We can recommend the least invasive removal options by pinpointing what tissue is affected, including our nipple-sparing mastectomy and minimally invasive lumpectomy. Getting breast cancer does not automatically mean you will lose both breasts or that you will have to undergo intense treatments that can have life-altering side effects. Early detection is key to ensuring you can live a long, happy, healthy life after defeating your breast cancer.
Schedule Your Breast Cancer Screening at our Mammography Service in Beverly Hills Today
Caring for your breasts doesn’t have to be scary. Contact Bedford Breast Center to schedule your regular breast cancer screenings in Beverly Hills today. We give priority to our patients with urgent issues, and we offer same-day ultrasounds and biopsies when possible.