NATIONWIDE -- October is breast cancer awareness month. Medical professionals continue to stress that early detection is key to preventing and treating breast cancer.
For women forty and older that detection comes mainly in the form of a mammogram. Although it can be controversial because of small amounts of radiation, physicians say it's the best first line of screening. It can show abnormalities and changes in tissue.
Women in their twenties and thirties should get breast exams by their physicians. Women of all ages are encouraged to be familiar with their own bodies and examine their breasts regularly.
SUNY Upstate Breast Cancer High Risk Program Director, Doctor Jayne Charlamb, said, "I try to get women before menopause to know what her breast feels like before her period, during her period, after her period because my goal is for her to know her breasts enough, because if she happens to notice something, she's going to say, 'aha there's a change.' You can't notice a change unless you know what it is like normally."
In addition to early detection, a healthy lifestyle is encouraged to reduce your risk of getting the disease.