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Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

Goal: Detect a lump before you can feel it.

Screening tests like mammography have been very successful in detecting breast cancer at an early stage. The goal of the screening is to find the cancer before it causes symptoms (like a lump that can be felt).

Breast cancers found during screening exams are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast. The size of a breast cancer and how far it has spread are among the most important factors in determining a woman’s prognosis. Early detection tests for breast cancer help save thousands of lives each year, and many more lives can be saved when more women and their health care providers use them regularly. 

Screening Guideline
20 - 39 40+
Talk with your health care professional about beginning clinical breast exams and understanding your breast health, family history of cancer, and any other risk factors. Talk to your health care professional about when to begin screening with mammogram, generally recommended every 1-2 years.
Do I have a genetic risk?

A personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer could indicate that you have a BRCA1, BRCA2 or other inherited genetic variation. About 3 percent of breast cancers and 1- percent of ovarian cancers result from inherited variations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Women should talk to their health care provider about whether they should receive genetic counseling. Genetic counselors can help by providing information, resources, and support to help patients and their families make informed decisions about genetic testing. Learn more about genetic counseling for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer here.

What about dense breast tissue?

Breast density is a term used to describe the proportion of different tissues that make up a woman’s breasts. Breasts are made up of fat, breast tissue, and connective tissue. Breasts with higher density have more breast and connective tissue and less fat; those with lower density have more fat compared to breast and connective tissue. Dense breasts are normal. On average about 40-50 percent of women ages 40-74 have dense breasts. Having higher breast density can increase your risk for breast cancer, but not all women with dense breasts are at high risk. You cannot feel if you have dense breasts. How your breasts look on a mammogram will show whether you have dense breasts. Talk to your doctor about screening and your breast cancer risk.

Mammogram Decision & Information Guide English | Spanish
Breast Self-Awareness Flyer English | Spanish
Understanding Mammography Card English | Spanish
Men Can Get Breast Cancer, pamphlet English | Spanish

 

Some breast cancer materials courtesy Susan G. Komen 

Low-cost screenings

The Women’s Health Connection (WHC) program provides breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to low-income women who are uninsured or underinsured. If breast or cervical cancer is diagnosed, Women's Health Connection patients may receive treatment through Medicaid. Click or call Access to Healthcare to learn more at 877-385-2345

Nevada Health Centers (NVHC) operates the Mammovan — a mobile mammography van that travels to underserved areas of our state to provide free or low-cost mammograms to geographically isolated and/or uninsured women who probably would not seek out mammography services on their own. You can see their locations in our interactive map. To make an appointment, visit their website or call 877-581-6266.

Click here for breast cancer resources