News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – Breast Cancer Awareness month is every October, and today, October 21st is National Mammography Day.

The Minister of Health, Kim Wilson, shares the following message about the significance of mammography.

“Today serves as a reminder of the importance of healthy breasts and the impact of breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women worldwide. In Bermuda, it is the number one diagnosed cancer in women.

“We all know someone who has been affected by breast cancer. It is also likely that many of us have lost a loved one to breast cancer. One in eight women will develop breast cancer throughout her lifetime. These are our family, friends and colleagues. We need to encourage women to take care of themselves. Regular screenings and quality care are essential to improving outcomes for breast cancer patients.

“I am particularly grateful that women in Bermuda have easy access to excellent screening technology, and I strongly encourage women to schedule their annual mammograms as a priority. All women over 40 should have a yearly mammogram, and if you have an increased risk of the disease, start at a younger age. A mammogram is the first step in detecting breast cancer early and can reduce your risk of dying.”

Why is an annual mammogram necessary?

·         A mammogram can detect breast density, as women with dense breasts can be at a higher risk of undetected breast cancer.

·         A mammogram can detect a breast lump 2 to 3 years earlier than a woman can feel it.  Mammography is also used to compare breast changes from year to year.  A radiologist can visually compare cysts and calcium deposits, possibly reducing the need for needle aspirations or biopsies.

·         Mammograms are the best test to detect breast cancer early when it is most treatable.

Minister Wilson concluded, “We will continue to support the fight, and spread the message that early detection can save lives.

“I urge everyone to protect their health by having a mammogram as recommended by your physician. Digital Mammography is the best method for detecting most breast cancers long before physical symptoms can be seen or felt. Women and men should be proactive with their breast health. Talk to your physician about what you can do to lower your risk factors, know your family history and learn what tests are appropriate. We have more treatment options and a greater chance of survival when breast cancer is detected early.”