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Breast Cancer: Screening Can Save Lives

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Why is screening for breast cancer important?

Breast cancer is the most common female cancer and the 2nd leading cause of female cancer

Screening means checking for health problems before they cause symptoms. Breast cancer screening is used to detect cancer, breast changes, or other abnormal conditions. If screening detects an abnormality, diagnosis and treatment can occur promptly.

Some racial/ethnic groups experience higher rates of breast cancer than other groups so it is important for everyone to be screened. For example, White women have the highest incidence rate of breast cancer and African American women have the highest mortality rate of breast cancer among other racial/ethnic group.

What types of screening tests check the breasts for cancer?

Your healthcare provider may suggest the following screening tests for breast cancer.

You may perform monthly breast self-exams to check for any lumps or changes in the breasts. Breast self-exams cannot replace regular clinical breast exams and screening mammograms. You should ask your healthcare provider about how to do a self-exam properly and how often to check your breasts.

When should I get screened for breast cancer?

If you are over age 40 you should talk with your healthcare provider about checking for breast

To find breast cancer early, the National Cancer Institute recommends that women in their 40s and older should have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years.  You should talk to your healthcare provider if you notice any unusual changes in your breasts or if you are concerned about your risk for breast cancer.

Where can I get screened for breast cancer?

Ask your healthcare provider or local health clinic for the screening site nearest you.
Stanford Hospital patients can contact the Stanford Referral Center, by calling 1-800-756-9000, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or sending an email to Referrals [referral].

Call the Cancer Detection Programs: Every Woman Counts at 1-800-511-2300.
Every Woman Counts provides low-income women access to screening, diagnostic and follow-up services for breast and cervical cancer. Services are available in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Korean, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where can I find more information about breast cancer?

Stanford Resources

National Cancer Institute (NCI) Resources

Call toll free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) or 1-800-332-8615 (TTY for the hearing and speech impaired). Callers also have the option of listening to recorded information about cancer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

clip To get live, online assistance from an NCI Information Specialist, visit LiveHelp.

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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