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Friday, October 2, 2020

CMO Message - Breast Cancer Prevention

One of the significant lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic is that underlying conditions can lead to dramatically worse health outcomes. When most people think of chronic conditions, they often think of diabetes or heart disease. Still cancer progression and treatment can also be an ongoing process that takes a significant toll on the body. It can lead to having a weaker immune system and a higher risk of infections.

Breast cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer but it remains the second leading cause of cancer death in women overall and is the leading cause of cancer death for Latina women. If detected and treated in the early stages, breast cancer may not impact life expectancy at all. However, if detected late when it has already spread to distant parts of the body, chances of survival decrease significantly.

Although preventive care is often pushed to the wayside in times of stress, early detection of breast cancer is critical to staying healthy. It’s more important than ever before to be up to date on your health screenings. In general, women 50 to 74 years old should have a mammogram every other year to screen for breast cancer. If you or a family member has had any cancer, speak to your physician about whether you should be screened earlier and whether you’d be a candidate for genetic testing. Furthermore, you may be exposed to chemicals during your work in agriculture that could increase your risk of cancer, so be sure to tell your doctor about any occupational exposures you have experienced.

Breast cancer might not always show symptoms, but some warning signs include lumps and/or pain in the breasts or armpits, change in breast size or shape, skin changes, or abnormal nipple discharge. If you have any of these symptoms, you should discuss them with your doctor immediately. If you are 50 years or older and have never had a mammogram or haven’t had one in over two years, call your doctor’s office or a Health & Wellness Center today to schedule one.


  • Rosemary Ku, MD/MBA/MPA