What You Should Know about Breast Cancer

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, what better time to talk about breast cancer and why it’s so important to get annual mammograms.

In general, cancer is a general term for more than 100 diseases in which abnormal cells multiply uncontrollably. Breast cancer, in particular, is a term for several cancers that begin in the breast. The most common form of breast cancer is called ductal carcinoma and begins in the lining of the ducts.

In the United States, breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in women, and the most frequently diagnosed. An estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the U.S. in 2020, along with 48,350 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer, according to breastcancer.org. And, approximately 42,170 of U.S. women are expected to die in 2020 from breast cancer.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case. With early detection and treatment, the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer will be alive and well more than five years after their diagnosis. For example, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has estimated that if every woman over the age of 50 had her yearly mammogram, breast cancer deaths in this age group could drop by 25%.

Your best defense in the fight against breast cancer is living a healthy lifestyle and following early detection screening guidelines recommended by the ACS.

If you are 20 to 39:

  • Have a breast exam by your doctor or nurse, at least every 3 years.
  • Report any breast change to your doctor right away. Breast self-exam is an option for finding changes.

If you are 40 or older:

  • Have a mammogram every year for as long as you are in good health.
  • Have a breast exam by your doctor or nurse every year.
  • Report any breast change to your doctor right away. Breast self-exam is an option for finding changes.

Please note: Some women—because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or other factors—may need to have an MRI in addition to a mammogram. Talk to your doctor about your history and whether you should have an MRI at an earlier age.


Call your physician’s office when it’s time for your annual mammogram. If you don’t have a physician, call the Bingham Healthcare Women’s Center at (208) 782-3900 and they can help you to schedule an appointment.

Our content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

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