An opening ceremony to mark October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month took place at City Hall today [Oct 1], with those in attendance including both Health Minister Zane DeSilva and Shadow Minister of Health Senator Michael Dunkley.
Minister DeSilva said: “In 2011, the Bermuda National Tumour Registry recorded 81 diagnoses of breast cancer – a disease that continues to be a life changing event for patients, their families, and friends.
“Mammograms and breast exams help find breast cancers early when treatments can be most effective.When detected early, breast cancer has a five year survival rate of 98%.”
Minister DeSilva’s full statement follows below:
Since the early 1990’s when mammography screening became widespread in the United States, survival rates have increased an average of 2% per year.
In Bermuda, we too have experienced an increase in survival rates as a result of women over the age of 40 receiving an annual screening mammogram.
It is important to note that the American College of Radiology, the American Medical Association, the Society of Breast Imaging, and other organizations all recommend that women have annual mammograms beginning at age 40.
In addition, the American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines include:
- Yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health;
- Clinical breast exam (CBE) about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women age 40 and over; and
- Women becoming knowledgeable about how their breasts normally look and feel and reporting any change promptly to their health care provider.
The ACS also recommends that women deemed at high risk because of family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors should be screened with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on an annual basis.
In 2011, the Bermuda National Tumour Registry recorded 81 diagnoses of breast cancer – a disease that continues to be a life changing event for patients, their families, and friends.
Mammograms and breast exams help find breast cancers early when treatments can be most effective.
When detected early, breast cancer has a five year survival rate of 98%.
Digital Mammography is now the gold standard for breast imaging and remains the best available method of detecting breast changes – long before physical symptoms can be seen or felt. It also offers improved image quality, reduced radiation exposure, faster results and fewer patient recalls.
Regrettably, some women in our community are not taking advantage of early detection opportunities and there are others who do not get screened at regular intervals.
We are reaching out specifically to those women to obtain accurate information about breast health, and to make sure they understand the importance of early detection and the impact of healthy lifestyle choices.
Studies have confirmed that healthy lifestyle choices may significantly reduce the occurrence of breast cancer, yet many women are not aware that diet and exercise may impact their risk for this disease.
We are urging our mothers, grandmothers, wives, daughters, aunts, sisters, cousins and friends to take time out of their busy schedules to protect the future of their health by scheduling an annual mammogram, seeing their physician, and conducting a breast self-examination each month.
As Minister of Health I do hereby proclaim October, 2012 as “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and encourage everyone to “Be a Part of the Cure”.
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