TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Breast Cancer Awareness month starts Sunday, but health experts stress it is a year-round issue.
It’s a startling statistic, according to the American Cancer Society, one in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
According to a recent report from the Journal of the American Medical Association, cases of early-onset breast cancer are increasing.
“There was a 4% increase in early onset, that’s cancer under the age of 50, specifically in women,” said Dr Michael Hwang, Director of Breast Imaging at Bayfront Health.
Hwang believes the increase is partly due to better detection.
At Bayfront Health, they’re using more advanced 3D mammogram technology.
“We go out to 50° so you can imagine if I’m standing behind my hand, and you’re looking 15° you’re getting a better view of me, but if you move out to 50° you’re getting a significantly better look at my face,” Dr. Hwang demonstrated.
Starting at age 40, Dr. Hwang said women should get a mammogram every year.
“Beginning a screening regimen at age 40, as opposed to other models, saves the most lives,” said Dr. Hwang.
Women with dense breasts may need additional screening because they have a higher risk of developing cancer.
“We want to catch these cancers at as early stage as possible. It’s going to be a completely different treatment regimen for something that’s 5 centimeters versus some thing that’s half a centimeter,” said Dr. Hwang. “The earlier we can catch it the earlier we can treat it, the better we can treat it, the more life years you’re going to gain.”
A common sign of breast cancer is a new lump. Also, swelling or dimpling of the breast can be important signs that you need to talk to your doctor.