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Early detection key to surviving breast cancer

The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center estimates there will be 290,560 cases of breast cancer diagnosed and 43,830 deaths related to breast cancer in 2022.

For many, a diagnosis of breast cancer is nothing short of terrifying. Too many of us have lost a loved one, a friend or family member to this disease.

If diagonosed with metastatic breast cancer, the five-year relative survival rate is 27 percent, according to an American Cancer Society 2019-20 report.

But the survival rate is much higher when the cancer is detected early. There’s a five-year relative survival rate of 99% for localized disease and 86% for regional disease.

What’s notable is that the report’s statistics detected a total decline of 40% from 1989 to 2017.The report says that 375,900 breast cancer deaths were averted in women across the United States in that time frame.

This decrease is attributed to improvements in treatment and also early detection, which includes mammograms, or low-dose x-rays of the breast. Regular mammograms can help find breast cancer at an early stage, when treatment is most likely to be successful.

The American Cancer Society screening recommendations for someone with average risk include the following:

– Women between age 40 to 44 may consider screening annually with mammograms.

– Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

– Women 55 and older can begin getting mammograms every other year, or may choose to continue to get them annually. Screening should continue at this rate so long as a woman is in good health and anticipates living for the next 10 years or more.

Because early detection is so important, don’t put off utilizing this valuable tool. If you think you can’t afford a mammogram, you very well may qualify for Adagio Health’s Mammogram Voucher Program (MVP), which provides free mammograms and breast diagnostic services for uninsured or underinsured adults 18 and older in western Pennsylvania.

For those who qualify, the MVP provides:

– Mammograms

– Breast ultrasounds

– Breast biopsies

– Follow-up and referral services

Ask your general practitioner, or simply call 888-687-0505 for more information about the MVP. Your life may depend on it.

—TL & TM

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