Things to know about Breast Cancer Awareness Month

3D mammogram machine at Navicent Health. Claudia Coco/WGXA News

MACON, Ga -- It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women.

Jill Hancock, the manager at the Breast Care Center at Navicent Health, said newer technology like the 3D mammogram is helping diagnose cancer earlier, which is one of the keys to beating the disease.

"It detects 40 percent more smaller cancers, and it decreases your call back rate by 40 percent because they can see so much more. As opposed to taking only four images it can take over 300 images of your breast, with very very minimal extra radiation," Hancock said.

She said it's best to speak to your doctor about your best action plan. According to the American College of Radiation (ACR), once you hit 40 your risk for getting breast cancer significantly goes up.

"Well, the ACR recommends that women start with yearly mammograms at the age of 40...some women start baselines as early as 35, you just have to speak with your doctor to see what they prefer," Hancock said.

According to the National Cancer Institute, one in eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime.

There are a number of factors that go into a person's risk of getting breast cancer, one is family history.

"It depends on how close the family member was," Hancock said. "If it was a mother or a sister, yes you would want to start earlier. Sometimes if it's earlier in lineage, not so much."

Other risk factors include alcohol consumption and reproductive history. Hancock said it is important to make sure you go in for your yearly mammograms, so if you do get breast cancer you can get on top of it in its early stages.

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