Breast cancer is a type of cancer in which cells in the breast tissue divide and grow without normal control. It is a disease that can strike anyone, and only a qualified health care provider can diagnose breast cancer.
Even though White women are more likely to get breast cancer than African American women, African American women are more likely to die from the disease. Breast cancer is usually not found in Black women until the tumors are very large, which makes the disease harder to treat. Experts believe the difference between races is due, in part, to the costs of clinical breast exams and mammograms, which results in differences in screening rates between White women and African American women. Lack of awareness and information about breast cancer may also be to blame.
You can take control of your health to help reduce your chances of breast cancer.
•Know your risk for breast cancer. Learn your family history and talk to your health care provider about your personal risk.
•When you turn 20, have a breast exam by a health care provider at least every three years and every year once you turn 40. Have a yearly mammogram beginning at age 40.
•Know how your breasts look and feel. Report any changes to your health care provider.
•Make healthy lifestyle choices:
o Maintain a healthy weight.
o Limit alcohol.
o Limit hormone use after menopause.
o Breastfeed if you can
If you can’t afford a mammogram, please call the Mammogram Voucher Program (MVP) at 888-MVP-0505.
The MVP is a partnership between the Komen Pittsburgh Affiliate and Adagio Health, Inc. and offers free mammograms and follow-up diagnostic services to under-insured and uninsured women. Mammograms and clinical breast exams can help to detect breast cancer in its earlier stages, giving women more treatment options and better chances of survival.
For more information about breast cancer or breast health, visit the Pittsburgh Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s® Web site at www.komenpittsburgh.org or call 412-342-0500.