Breast cancer affects one in every eight women. It is the most common female cancer in the United States, and despite decreasing mortality, it remains the second leading cause of cancer death among American women.

While improvements in diagnosis and treatment have allowed for better survival rates, there are still over 3.5 million women with breast cancer today.

As we continue searching for answers on how to cure breast cancer, one thing has become clear: Early detection with regular breast exams, mammography, and breast self-awareness are key to breast cancer survival. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to learn when to start screening and become an advocate for your own health.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), women should begin regular screening at the age of 40. Annual breast exams by a medical professional and mammograms, which is a low-dose X-ray image of the breast, are the most effective ways of detecting breast cancer in the early stages. Additionally, becoming familiar with one’s normal breast anatomy through self-awareness or self-examination can aid in the detection of breast cancer, and notifying a healthcare provider of any noticeable changes can allow for early diagnosis and treatment.

Your health is in your hands, and it is never too late to get started! See the following links for more information on breast cancer screening and how to best ensure early detection and treatment:

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Breast Cancer Risk Assessment and Screening in Average-Risk Women

American Cancer Society
Recommendation for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer