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Breast Cancer Awareness By: Dr. David Pomerantz

Breast cancer is still a leading cause of death among women in America, second only to lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the U.S. this year. Although the disease still affects thousands of Americans, death rates for breast cancer have been steadily declining since the late 1980s. This is largely attributed to improvements in treatment options and increased awareness regarding the importance of early detection.

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the physicians at HealthCare Partners Nevada would like to emphasize the importance of yearly screenings such as breast exams and mammograms to safeguard the health of women throughout Southern Nevada.

According to the National Cancer Institute, a yearly mammogram can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74. Although recommendations differ, organizations such as the Mayo Clinic and the American Cancer Society recommend women receive a yearly mammogram beginning at age 40. Screenings are a personal decision, and it is important to consider each patient's personal situation. Remember to consult your HealthCare Partners provider to discuss your personal risk and the benefits of screening.

If detected and treated early, the five-year relative survival rate for women diagnosed with stage two breast cancer is 93 percent, according to the American Cancer Society. This rate dramatically decreases to 72 percent for women who are diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Statistics such as these underscore the importance of regular screenings and early detection.

Aside from yearly mammograms, HealthCare Partners encourages patients to perform self-exams at least once a month and undergo regular clinical breast exams to find lumps and detect any changes in their breasts.

Many factors affect a patient's risk for breast cancer. According to the National Institutes of Health, certain factors such as obesity have been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer, particularly in postmenopausal women. Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, maintaining a regular exercise regimen and eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, poultry and fish can greatly decrease a woman's likelihood of getting breast cancer.

There are valuable resources available right here in Southern Nevada for patients impacted by breast cancer. Our oncology team at HealthCare Partners specializes in a wide range of cancer care therapies including medical oncology, cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy, utilizing the most advanced treatments and technologies.



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