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Awareness key to beating breast cancer

Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women develop breast cancer and more than 40,000 die from the the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Dr. Terry Wolf, diagnostic radiologis, fellowship trained in breast imaging, said the American College of Radiology recommends women start screening with mammography at age 40. "We recommend that you continue that screening every year for as long as you would treat breast cancer," Wolf said. "Usually, we recommend to keep screening if your life expectancy is more than five or seven years."

Wolf and Dr. Kelly Jones are radiologists at the Center for Breast Health/Women's Imaging at Comanche County Memorial Hospital. "There are other screening recommendations for people who are at high risk," Wolf said. "Somebody who is at a 20-25 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer  that risk is based on a lot of factors  things like family history, age of menopause and menarche (first menstrual period), history of using oral contraceptives. Other things that affect your risk factor are race, history of using oral hormones and a lot of other factors. If you are at a 20-25 percent increased risk for developing breast cancer over your lifetime, you are considered high risk and there are other screening recommendations for you. One of the most important is using MRI in addition every year to your mammogram."

Women should speak with their primary physicians about their risk factors to develop breast cancer. At the Center for Breast Health, every patient is assessed so they will know their risk factors.

The Lawton Constitution

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