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    Stay Abreast of Breast Health by Knowing Your Normal

    SACRAMENTO, Calif., October 26, 2011 - Most women know the basics: Breast cancer is a serious threat to your health and regular screening for breast cancer can save your life. But knowing and doing are two different things.

    “Women have so many demands on their time between work and home and family, but it is important to take care of ourselves, too,” says Lisa Bailey, M.D., director at the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland. “I’d like to see women consider their breast exams as another way of caring for their bodies – absolutely essential and never to be missed.”

    Health care providers agree that regular self exams and clinical breast exams, along with annual mammograms after age 40, are the best defense against breast cancer. Leslie Paine, OTR and manager of the Markstein Cancer Education and Preventative Services, recommends women do regular self-breast exams not expecting to find abnormalities but rather to be familiar with the structure of their own breasts so that they can identify their own ‘normal.’

    Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in women, with an estimated 175,000 new cases diagnosed each year. But there’s good news: It’s also one of the most treatable cancers. Breast cancer mortality rates are declining, while the five-year survival rate is climbing. These successes relate to increased early detection, a better understanding of genetic risk factors, and advancements in treatment.

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