In honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, North York Medical Center is doing a 4-part series on actionable things that everyone can do to take care of themselves and those around them.
According to Health Canada, breast cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in Canada and the #1 cancer affecting women across the country. This is the second installment of North York Medical Center’s 4-part series on Breast Cancer Awareness.
Screen early and regularly (yes, even during COVID-19)
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care recommends that women above the age of 50 be screening with mammography every 2-3 years.
However, it is estimated that more than 16% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 are under 50 years old. Nearly 5% are under the age of 40. As a result, both health experts and breast cancer survivors urge women to start their regular screenings in their 40s.
Having said that, there certain risks as well as cultural and personal barriers to screenings. We recommend that you regularly self-exam for breast abnormalities. If you detect something unusual, speak to your doctor before you rush off to your radiologists.
If you are at a heightened risk for breast cancer, we strongly recommend that you start screening even earlier. These risk factors include:
- A family history of cancer
- Being a carrier of the BRCA1/BRCA2 gene mutation
- Being exposed to radiation
In our next post… You know that you should drink less alcohol, exercise more, and eat more fruits and veggies, but have you heard of these tips? Stay tuned for our third blog in our Breast Cancer Awareness series.