Every October, Americans come together to support awareness for breast cancer, including early detection. Early detection is incredibly important – it allows doctors the opportunity to spot precancerous and cancerous tissue in its early stages and assess whether treatment or surgery is needed right away.

Early detection and effective breast cancer awareness save lives, and PGOMG invites both women and men to learn more about breast cancer so we can work together as a community to reduce the number of new breast cancer cases dramatically in the future.

Early detection through genetic testing

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015 there will be over 230,000 new cases of breast cancer in women, with over 40,000 proving fatal. These numbers are intimidating, particularly since breast cancer can be passed down from one generation to another genetically. The BRCA1 gene, also called the breast cancer gene, can be inherited, but genetic testing for the BRCA1 gene and its ovarian cancer equivalent, BRCA2, are available – including here at PGOMG.

Genetic testing at PGOMG is offered to those with a personal or familial history of breast or ovarian cancer or with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. We encourage you to contact your provider to learn more about genetic testing and whether you are a good candidate for the test(s).

Early detection through self breast exams

Another important effort in breast cancer prevention is the self breast exam. A self breast exam can be performed in the privacy of your own home on your time. PGOMG has provided a three-step self breast exam guide that we encourage you to utilize and share with family and friends. The guide outlines how to perform the exam, what to look out for and when to speak with a provider should you come across any abnormalities.

Of course, breast exams are performed during an annual well woman exam at PGOMG, but these exams should also be used at home in order to check for any changes in color, shape, size and skin condition of your breasts. Breasts do change over time, with these changes varying from woman to woman, but our self breast exam guide can help determine if there is a need to reach out to PGOMG.

Breast health and early detection are essential in the mission to defeat breast cancer in women and men of all ages.