JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer is life altering. To increase your awareness and learn more about this disease, the 11th Medical Group will hold a Breast Cancer Awareness Event at Bldg. 1050, Kathmandu Café, on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Over the past 32 years, the rate of breast cancer death has declined from 33 to 20.5 per 100,000 women, according to the National Cancer Institute.
It is estimated over 316,000 women and almost 2,500 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Although this is an increase from previous years, the American Cancer Society reports the average breast cancer five-year survival rate has also increased from 78.4% in 1985 to 89.3% by 2014. For those diagnosed with localized breast cancer, the survival rate approaches 99%.
“Risk factors for breast cancer such as age and family history cannot be controlled,” said Maj. Corey Teagarden, 11th Medical Group OB-GYN physician. “However, activities such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, reducing alcohol consumption, and avoiding tobacco use and obesity can help reduce the risk for breast cancer.”
Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Cancer Society no longer recommend routine breast self-exams in favor of a practice known as breast self-awareness. Women are encouraged to be familiar with the normal appearance and consistency of their breasts and should be educated about concerning signs and symptoms of breast cancer and when to notify their provider.
ACOG believes a screening clinical breast exam should be offered every 1-3 years for women aged 25-39 years and annually after 40; however, this recommendation differs from the ACS who no longer recommends clinical breast exams in average-risk women.
“Women with an average risk of breast cancer may begin screening between the ages of 40 to 50,” said Maj. (Dr.) Lisa Nicholson, 11th Medical Group women’s health clinic medical director. “Every woman should have a discussion about breast cancer screening with their provider in order to determine the most appropriate individual screening recommendation.”
If you are a TRICARE beneficiary with no current breast complaints, you may schedule your mammogram without a referral by contacting the Diagnostics Imaging Department at (240) 612-2760. A minimum of 365 days must elapse between mammograms unless there are extenuating circumstances such as PCS, separation, or deployment. Same day appointments are often available.
For additional information on breast cancer, you may access the American Cancer Society website at www.cancer.org, The National Cancer Institute at https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation at www.nationalbreastcancer.org.