It is estimated that there will be 8,150 new cases of breast cancer in Michigan, and that 1,410 women will die from the disease this year.
With these statistics, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is urging all women to talk to their physician about their individual risk factors to help with early diagnosis and reduce health disparities.
“It’s important for women to know their risk for breast cancer and to talk to their physician about screening,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of MDHHS. “As women, our risk for breast cancer increases as we get older. Having extremely dense breast tissue, which can mask or hide breast cancer, increases your risk as does having a personal or family history of breast cancer.”
According to a release by the department, women can limit their risk by incorporating healthy behaviors in their lives and getting regular breast cancer screenings. Healthy behaviors include increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, maintain a healthy weight and limiting alcohol use.
The Michigan Cancer Consortium, MDHHS, and the American Cancer Society recommend:
• Women should be able to start screening as early as age 40, if they want to. It’s a good idea to start talking to your health care provider at age 40 about when you should begin screening.
• Most women have an average risk of breast cancer and should begin yearly mammograms by age 45.
• While breast exams, either from a medical provider or self-exams, are no longer recommended, all women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and report any changes to a health care provider right away.
The MDHHS states that African American women are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age, and at a later stage than white women. African American women also have a higher death rate from breast cancer and across all stages of cancer diagnosis. Also, they are more likely to be diagnosed with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, a cancer that does not respond to certain chemotherapies, says the release.
Women should also know their family history of cancer, as approximately five to 10-percent of breast cancer is inherited due to genetic factors.