Breast Cancer Early Detection

While research and treatments are constantly advancing, the most effective tool we have to fight breast cancer hasn’t changed: early detection. Research has shown time and again that the sooner breast cancer is caught and treatment is begun, the better the outcome will be.

The Maurer Foundation 3-Pronged Approach To Breast Cancer Early Detection

We believe that breast cancer early detection is best accomplished through a three-pronged approach of monthly breast self-exams beginning at age 18, yearly clinical breast exams, and breast imaging such as the yearly mammogram for women over 40. Educating yourself and practicing these methods at the appropriate age levels will put you in a position of strength.

Breast Self-Exams

Breast self-exams should be performed monthly beginning at age 18. Read tips and learn more about how to do a breast self-exam.

Clinical Breast Exams

Clinical breast exams are performed by a doctor at least yearly for women in their twenties (sooner for those with a family history or higher risk factors). Learn more about how a clinical breast exam is done and how to prepare.

Breast Imaging

Breast imaging includes a variety of tests, including mammograms, breast ultrasounds, breast MRIs, and digital tomosynthesis. Your doctor may advise one or more of these depending on your risk factors, but most women should get a mammogram annually after the age of 40.

How Early Detection Affects Survival Rate

Breast cancer early detection is so important simply because cancer’s inherent danger is how quickly it can spread. The sooner a tumor is found, the faster a doctor can work to isolate and remove it, preventing the cancerous cells from spreading to other parts of the body (like the lymph nodes).

Statistics show that when breast cancer is caught at its earliest stages, the 5-year survival rate is 99%. Once it has spread to its latest stages, that rate drops to 24%. Considering how rapidly some forms of breast cancer can spread, it’s imperative that women complete monthly breast self-exams rather than wait for their next doctor’s appointment, and that family history and risk factors are considered when deciding when to begin clinical exams and mammograms.