Breast Cancer Awareness During the COVID-19 Crisis

Breast Cancer AwarenessRegardless of age, race, or family history, all women – and about 1% of men – have some level of risk for breast cancer. Primary risk factors include age and gender, along with a number of other factors, such as obesity and alcohol use, which can be moderated through healthy lifestyle choices. Today, there are many types of effective treatments for breast cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy, to mention a few. Research is ongoing to bring more promising treatment options to patients.

Importance of Early Detection
Identifying any type of cancer at an early stage, before it has spread extensively (metastasis), provides a much better outcome for patients. Florida Cancer Specialists’ physicians concur with the American Cancer Society’s recommendation that women over 40, with no family history of breast cancer, should get a mammogram once a year; for women under 40 a clinical breast exam is
recommended at least once every three years. In addition, monthly breast self-examinations can be an effective way of discovering any changes in the normal look and feel of the breasts.

Impact of COVID-19 on Breast Cancer Screenings
During the coronavirus crisis, many women are wondering if it is safe to go to certain medical appointments, including scheduled mammograms. Screening mammograms – at every age – are one of the best ways to diagnose breast cancer early, when it’s most treatable. Women will need to make an informed decision with their physician as to whether to get a mammogram during COVID-19.

Remember – even if you are diagnosed with breast cancer, it does not necessarily increase your risk of having more serious complications if you do get COVID-19; however, for people in active treatment for breast or any type of cancer, there may be a higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19 if your treatments cause you to become immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system) or have lung problems.

Screening Guidelines for Women 55 to 75
The American Cancer Society (ACS) screening guidelines recommend that women ages 55 to 75 at average risk for breast cancer, with no family history, can be screened every one to two years. If you are between 55 and 75 and had a normal mammogram within the last year, you could choose to have your next mammogram up to 24 months after your last one, so that you don’t have to be screened during the pandemic.

Are Mammograms Necessary for Women Over 75?
Considering that older people have a higher risk for COVID-19, some are questioning whether mammograms are even necessary after the age of 75 for women with no family history of breast cancer, and a record of normal mammograms. The ACS recommends that women should continue screening mammography as long as their overall health is good and they have a life expectancy of 10 years or longer.

One study, cited by BreastCancer.org, confirmed the benefits of regular mammograms and emphasized that there is no upper age limit for mammograms.

Can Breast Cancer Be Inherited?
Certain types of breast cancer do seem to run in some families; however, it is important to understand that what is inherited is the abnormal (mutated) gene that could lead to breast cancer, not the cancer itself.

The most common genetic risk factors for breast cancer are in women who have changes to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Women with this inherited gene mutation have up to an 80% chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetimes. If you have a close relative (mother, sister, daughter, etc.) with breast cancer, you should speak with your doctor about genetic testing.

Florida Cancer Specialists treats patients with all types of cancer, and offers a number of services, such as an in-house specialty pharmacy, an in-house pathology lab and financial counselors at every location, that deliver the most advanced and personalized care in your local community.

Bonita Springs
9776 Bonita Beach Rd SE,
Suite 201A
Bonita Springs, FL 34135

Naples – Goodlette
1100 Goodlette Road
Naples, FL 34102

Naples – Napa Ridge
6360 Pine Ridge Road, Suite 201
Naples, FL 34119

Naples – Sierra Meadows
8350 Sierra Meadows Blvd
Naples, FL 34114

Naples West
681 4th Ave North
Naples, FL 34102

Bonita Springs
9776 Bonita Beach Rd SE
Suite 201A
Bonita Springs, Florida 34135

Cape Coral Cay West
1708 Cape Coral Pkwy West
Suite 10
Cape Coral, FL 33914

Cape Coral Cancer Center
1030 Commerce Creek Blvd
Cape Coral, FL 33909

Fort Myers Colonial
8931 Colonial Center Drive
Suite 300
Fort Myers, FL 33905

Fort Myers Cancer Center
8260 Gladiolus Dr
Fort Myers, FL 33908

North Port
3085 Bobcat Village Center Road
North Port, FL 34288

Port Charlotte
22395 Edgewater Drive
Port Charlotte, FL 33980

Venice Island
901 South Tamiami Trail
Venice, FL 34285

Venice Healthpark
836 Sunset Lake Blvd,
Suite 101
Venice, FL 34292

Englewood
714 Doctors Drive
Englewood, FL 34223-3992

Sarasota Downtown
1970 Golf Street
Sarasota, FL 34236

Sarasota Cattlemen
600 North Cattlemen Rd,
Suite 200
Sarasota, FL 34232

Lakewood Ranch
6310 Health Parkway,
Suite 200
Bradenton, FL 34202-5177

Bradenton East
401 Manatee Ave, Suite B
Bradenton, FL 34208

Bradenton West
2401 60th Street Court West
Bradenton, FL 34209

For more information, visit FLCancer.com

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