Grady General Hospital Hosting A Health Affair's Free Clinical Breast Exams

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Grady General Hospital Hosting A Health Affair—Free Clinical Breast Exams

Friday, October 10, 2014

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women in the United States besides skin cancer, and it’s the second-leading cause of cancer death.

It also remains the most common cancer treated at Archbold’s Lewis Hall Singletary Oncology Center year after year.

You may have heard this key breast cancer statistic: About one in eight women will develop the disease in her lifetime. But there’s another number that’s more encouraging: About 2.8 million women living now have survived the disease.

Statistics show that fewer U.S. women develop and die from breast cancer as each year goes by, and physicians say the improvement is likely due to increased screenings and advances in treatment.

“Finding any type of cancer early, improves the chances that treatment will be successful, and that’s also the case with breast cancer,” said Archbold medical oncologist Amanda D. May, MD. “Regular cancer screenings are important, because that’s how we catch the disease early and in its most treatable stages.”

And though doctors don’t always know why one woman develops breast cancer and another doesn’t, there are some risks factors that have proven to increase your risk of developing the disease.

Risk factors associated with breast cancer include being age 55 or older; having changes in the cancer-related genes BRCA1 or BRCA2; onset of menstruation before age 12; having one or more family members with breast cancer, and not having children by age 30. Other risk factors also include obesity, drinking alcohol and exposure to postmenopausal estrogens.

It’s also more important for women to be proactive by scheduling screenings and their regular mammograms (an x-ray exam of the breasts used to detect abnormal changes).

“Mammography performed in combination with clinical breast exams is currently the best method of screening for breast cancer,” said Jennifer Ruddell, PA-C.

“Women should have their first mammogram (a baseline mammogram) at the age of 40 and annually thereafter, based on the guidelines set by the American Cancer Society,” said Ruddell. “Women at high risk for breast cancer may need to be screened earlier.”

A woman is considered high risk if she has one factor that significantly increases her risk or multiple factors that collectively increase risk.

“It’s really best to talk with your healthcare provider about your personal risk factors related to breast cancer,” said Ruddell. “Together, you can choose a screening schedule that’s right for you.”

On Thursday, October 16, from 4-7pm Grady General Hospital will host A Health Affair, a community breast cancer screening event. Providers will offer free clinical breast exams, and mammograms will be available by appointment for a reduced rate of $20. Refreshments will also be served.

For more information on A Health Affair or to schedule a mammogram at Grady General Hospital, call 377-0290.