Aspirus Medical Monday: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – On this Aspirus Medical Monday, we are talking about October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Dr. John Pietila, a radiologist with Aspirus Ironwood, discusses who should get screened for breast cancer and how often.

“So for average risked women, which most women fall into that category they should begin screening mammograms starting at age 40. There are certain risk categories that do begin screening before that but the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging recommend screening at age 40 for average-risk women,” said Pietila.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, according to Pietila. He said if you feel any changes in your breasts, to consult your doctor as soon as possible.

“So self-breast exams there’s not a whole lot of evidence that I’m aware of that they increase the detection of breast cancer. However, we always encourage any women to report any changes. So women typically know what’s normal for their breasts. And if anything seems unusual they should report that to their doctor. And their doctor can determine if they need further workup with imaging.

Some of the things to look at are obviously if there is basically a lump that is something we would call a palliative finding where a woman can feel something that’s just different and a lump in an area. That definitely needs investigation. But any changes at all that is new should be something they discuss with their doctor,” said Pietila.

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