This is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Iowa officials are stressing the importance of early detection of the disease. Mike Speight is with the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care. He says the primary message they’re trying to get out is that women need to get a mammogram to detect the disease early. Speight says women should start getting mammograms when they hit 40-years of age. He says the mammograms can find the disease earlier than a woman would otherwise know she had the disease. He says that opens more treatment options and the quality of life after treatment is generally better the sooner you identify the disease. Speight says women shouldn’t stop getting mammograms. He says it’s even more important as women get older, and he says it’s a common misconception that breast cancer is a young woman’s disease. He says the older women get, the more their risk increases. Speight says there are other things women can do. He says regular monthly self breast exams as well as clinical exams are important as well. Speight says there’s a fear factor involved for women. He says women often report when asked why they don’t get a mammogram that they’re afraid and don’t want to know if they have cancer. He says that attitude in fact reduces their chances of successful treatment if they do have breast cancer. Speight says you should consult your physician to find out about getting a mammogram if you are in the risk group.
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