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It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Colorado Radiologist Says Early Detection & Prevention Is Key

(CBS4) - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Lora Barke, a breast radiologist with Invision Sally Jobe at HealthOne, says that's why early detection and prevention is key. She recommends women get mammograms annually starting at age 40.

"Every woman starting at 40 should begin screening annually. There may be some patients that need to start earlier depending on their own history and their family history of breast cancer," said Dr. Barke. "What we do know is mammograms save lives."

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(credit: CBS)

Dr. Barke recommends women under the age of 40 perform breast self-exams, paying special attention to any changes such as redness, bumps or lumps.

"Really if you notice anything that seems different or off it's important to just make sure you get that checked out."

However, if you find a lump in your breast, Dr. Barke says you should not assume the worst.

"Often times breast lumps are related to cysts in the breast or fluid collections that can be normal findings," says Dr. Barke, adding." A very small percentage of patients may have a breast cancer associated with a lump."

Another common myth about breast cancer is that it only affects women. In reality, 1% of breast cancer cases happen in men.

"Often times men will present with an area they feel or a palpable lump," says Dr. Barke. "Just like women, we will start with a mammogram in men."

Dr. Barke says regardless of whether you're a man or a woman, don't put off seeing your doctor.

"Breast cancer awareness month is a great reminder that if you haven't had a mammogram in the last year that it is time to come in. We know that delaying mammograms can lead to finding breast cancers that may be more advanced and less treatable. So we always promote the fact that it's better to find it sooner rather than later."

LINKS: National Breast Cancer Foundation | Invision Sally Jobe at HealthOne

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