I know the American Cancer Society recommends that, starting at age 40, women should have an annual breast exam by a health professional. But a lot can change in a year. So what else could we be doing in the interim to check for signs of the disease?
This year, I decided to take the plunge and write a story from the point of wellness rather than illness. I set out to learn what I could about prevention, starting with breast self-examination ---- and I don't mean the introspective kind ---- and clinical breast examination, which is done by a professional.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, next to skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. More than 211,000 women will be found to have it in 2005, and more than 40,000 will die from it this year, experts say. Breast cancer death rates have been declining, probably as a result of early diagnosis and improved treatment, according to ACS.
Being a woman is the greatest risk factor for the disease. One in eight women will have it at some point in her life.
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