Pregnant women often focus on their health for good reasons. What may come as a surprise, is that breast cancer is the most common cancer among pregnant women and those who have recently given birth. Breastfeeding, ideally for 6-12 months, reduces a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Starting at age 25, women are encouraged to have annual physician breast exams. Mammography is the gold standard for breast cancer screening and typically begins between ages 40-50. Tattoos can sometimes cause a false alarm; the pigment can gravitate to the lymph nodes, interfering with the clarity of a mammogram.
Breast cancer that hasn’t spread and is treated, has a 99% five-year survival rate. But if a woman isn’t screened regularly, she puts herself at greater risk. Breast cancer is 3.5 times more deadly when found between routine screening. Studies indicate that during the Covid pandemic, 1 in 3 women have delayed mammogram testing. This can allow the disease to grow and become more deadly when compared with cancer found during routine screening. Don’t delay regular breast cancer screening! Women who have had a heart attack show an increased risk of recurrent cancer by nearly 60%, according to an NYU study.
Remember, managing breast health requires early and regular screening.