Team Pete recognizes National Breast Cancer Awareness month

  • Published
  • By Terri Fisher
  • Health and Wellness Center
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and since the program began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older, and breast cancer deaths have declined.

This is exciting progress, but there are still women who do not take advantage of early detection at all and others who do not get screening mammograms and clinical breast exams at regular intervals. Women age 65 and older are less likely to get mammograms than younger women, even though breast cancer risk increases with age.

"If all women age 40 and older took advantage of early detection methods - mammography plus clinical breast exam - breast cancer death rates would drop much further, up to 30 percent," said Lt. Col. Leslie Wilson, 21st Medical Group chief of Medical Services. The key to mammography screening is that it be done routinely - once is not enough.

The 21st MDG provides mammograms for active duty and their dependants. If you are 40 years old or older, it is recommended you have a clinical breast exam and a mammogram once a year. If you are not current, visit your PCM or the women's health clinic for an exam and stop in at the radiology department for a self-referral form to fill out to schedule your mammogram appointment.

If you are between the ages of 20 and 40, it is recommended you have a clinical breast exam every three years by your provider (call 556-CARE to schedule an appointment with your provider). All women beginning at age 20 should perform a breast self-exam. Stop by the table this month outside the radiology department to pick up information on BSE and other breast health information.

For information about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, go to For additional information, call: American Cancer Society, (800) 227-2345,; National Cancer Institute, (800) 4-CANCER,; Susan G. Komen for the Cure (800)462-9273,; or Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, (800) 221-2141.

1. All women are at risk for breast cancer.
2. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women today.
3. When breast cancer is found early, the cancer for survival is the greatest.
4. Nationally, one in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer; in Colorado, one in six.
5. You can have tests that can find breast cancer early.
6. Mammograms can find breast cancers when they are too small to feel.
7. A clinical breast exam is an important way to check for breast cancer.
8. You can learn to do breast self-exam and check your breasts at home.

1. Lifestyle factors
Don't smoke.
Reduce alcohol use.
Choose breast-feeding.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Get regular physical activity.
Decrease saturated fat intake.
Eat a balanced diet with at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

2. Early detection
Perform a monthly self breast exam.
See your healthcare provider for a clinical breast exam yearly.
Schedule a yearly mammogram after the age of 40.