Early detection of breast cancer saves lives — but Mississippi has one of the lowest breast cancer screening rates in the nation for older women.
More than one-quarter of Mississippi's women do not receive regular screening that could save their life.
This year alone, more than 2,000 Mississippi women could be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Women at Risk
Any woman can get breast cancer, at any age. But some groups are more likely to be affected than others.
- African-American women are more likely than all other women to die from breast cancer. Their tumors often are found at a later, more advanced stage when treatment is less effective.
- Older women are at higher risk, especially those over 50.
- Being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer after menopause.
- A family history of breast cancer can mean that your risk is higher — for example, a mother, sister, or daughter who has had breast cancer.
Breast cancer screening can be as simple as a exam in your doctor's office to check for early signs that could indicate cancer. It may also include an x-ray of your breasts (mammogram). Women ages 40 and older should be routinely screened for breast cancer – at least every two years. Your doctor can tell you what the best screening schedule is based on your age, risk and other factors.
Screening is important because it can find signs of possible cancer before it becomes more serious. Detecting cancer early means quicker treatment, more effective teatment, a better chance of recovering, and less risk to your health and life.
Screening Assistance for Women at Risk
If you do not have insurance that covers screening our Breast & Cervical Cancer program may be able to help you.
What You Can Do
Stay in touch with your health by performing a self-exam each month. A few minutes is all it takes to spot potential problems ahead of time.
A healthy lifestyle can help prevent breast cancer for occurring or re-occurring. A healthy weight and regular physical activity lower your risk of developing breast cancer, and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help with breast cancer prevention. Quitting smoking is an essential step in preventing a wide range of cancers.
Know the Signs
Breast cancer can develop without early symptoms. That's why regular screening is so important. But every woman should know these signs that could indicate breast cancer.
- New lump in the breast or under the arm.
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast, or any change in size or shape.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
Tell your doctor or health care provider about any of these symptoms.
Know Your Risk Factors
Breast cancer can't always be prevented. But you can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer by making lifestyle changes, like losing weight and becoming more active.