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Preventing breast cancer | Health Beat with Brea Love

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. The disease affects one out of eight American women. Early detection is key when it comes to beating it.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. The disease affects one out of eight American Women. 

Early detection is key when it comes to beating breast cancer, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, many put off appointments. UC Davis Chief of Breast Radiology Dr. Shadi Shakeri said she's worried some women don't understand how important it is to keep up with their mammograms. 

"Breast cancer does not understand a pandemic," Shakeri said. "It occurs and whether you're sitting in waiting at home, you know, wondering if you should go in or not. If that cancer can be found early, then that would give you the best chance of a living and best chance of treatment without aggressive treatment."

Women 40 and older should get a mammogram once a year. This goes along with monthly self exams. Performing a self-exam helps women stay aware of their tissue and allow them to notice if something were to change. 

"I would recommend for women who have done this for years and who are learning how to do it, to continue the importance of examining your breasts in the same way, sort of same position and at the same time of the month, are really important because what it allows you to do is become familiar with your breast tissues and when something doesn't feel right," Shakeri said. "That's when you can bring it to your provider's attention and then come and get imaging exams as necessary."

One lesser know risk factor of breast cancer is breast density. Dense tissue makes cancer harder to spot. A doctor has to notify you of your density because it's not something you can feel on your own. Dr. Shakeri said for women who do know, they need to communicate it to their providers. 

"They need to be able to have conversations with their radiologist, with their primary providers, because they may want to do additional screening," Shakeri said. "So, in addition to having a yearly mammogram, there are other examinations to supplement, so that those women can make sure that they're being safe."

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