Breast cancer: signs, symptoms & risk factors
Shannen Doherty's Breast Cancer Screening Advice Could Save Your Life
While many Hollywood stars have battled breast cancer over the years, nobody has bravely (and so very publicly) detailed their health journey quite like Shannen Doherty. To kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Doherty, who has been in remission since the spring of 2019, has a message for us: It’s not enough to be aware—go get checked.
“October. Breast cancer awareness month,” she posted on Instagram in a black-and-white picture of herself in a hospital gown, next to a mammogram machine. “Last week I went for my mammogram. As scary as it can be, it’s also comforting when you get the all clear. Early detection is the key. Don’t put it off!!!”
TheBeverly Hills, 90210alum has poignantly documented every little detail of her struggle—from the moment she was diagnosed to her brutal chemotherapy and radiation and then finally, her recovery. Her honesty and candidness about the disease has been eye-opening to say the least, and has likely saved many lives.
"I know sharing helped me because when I got back, these beautiful stories from other people, what they were going through ... giving me hope and support and love, it really helped," she toldGood Morning America. "It's truly a family. There's something so beautiful about the journey."
But the reason Doherty's latest post is so important is because it's a reminder to get checked. Why is early breast cancer early detection so crucial? When caught early, the prognosis is often much better. The 5-year survival rate for breast cancer that’s found early and confined to the breast is 99 percent, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
However, keep in mind that an annual mammogram isn’t for everyone.
The ACS recommends mammograms for women ages 40 to 44 who desire to do so (usually a good idea for those who are at a higher risk), while those 45 to 54 should get them every year. Women 55 and older should schedule one every two years (or opt for a yearly screening). Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and expects to live 10 years more or longer.
If you aren’t sure about your risks, Assess Your Risk from the nonprofit Bright Pink is an awesome tool that can help answer that question for you. The five-minute quiz takes into consideration everything from your family history to your own personal medical background and lifestyle. It can estimate your baseline risk of both breast and ovarian cancer.
Video: Wisdom Study: Bringing Clarity to Breast Cancer Screening
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