The American Cancer Society says deaths rates for women with breast cancer have dropped more than two percent each year since 1990. Chuck Reed, a spokesman for the Iowa Chapter of the American Cancer Society, says that’s a trend that doesn’t have to stop. Reed says if women can continue to stay on top of their physical health and talk to their doctor, along with getting their mammogram, than there’s a good chance the death rates for breast cancer can continue to drop.
Reed says early detection is the key in treatment. He says if breast cancer is caught early, the survival rate is 98-percent. Reed says if breast cancer is caught late, the survival rate drops to 24%. The declines in breast cancer deaths have declined among all groups of women, although African-American women still have a 40% higher death rate than others.
Reed says he does not know if that is because African-Ameircan women aren’t getting as many screenings, or there is some research that shows the breast cancer appears to be more aggressive in African-American women. He says the percentage of African-American women who get screenings tends to be lower, and when the cancer if found, it often is at a more advanced stage. Reed says all women should remember the magic number “40”.
Reed says you should get your first mammogram at age 40 unless there is a family history of cancer or you find a lump. But he says if you are 40 and haven’t had a mammogram, then you should get one as soon as you can. Reed says of the 117,000 Iowa cancer survivors in 2006 — 25,600 were breast cancer survivors. For more information, contact your doctor, or call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.
You can also visit www.cancer.org.