COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A local expert says doing a monthly breast self-exam and annual exam with a physician plays an important role in catching cancer and saving your life.
About 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, and one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime according to National Breast Cancer Foundation.
National statistics also show about 30 percent of women will be diagnosed after cancer has already spread beyond their localized stage as well.
Lynn Causey, a mammography technologist at Columbus Regional Breast Cancer Care Center says about 2,000 women visit the clinic to get their checkups every month. Causey also said more women visit in October since it is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
"You may find something very early if you do self-exams," Causey said. "You can detect pea sized to dime sized lumps by yourself if you do your monthly check ups. Annual checkup with your doctor is important as well, but by doing yourself exams, you can find cancer early."
Causey said most women do not do monthly or annual breast exams for various reasons.
"Many say they don't know how to do it," Causey said. "But doctors and nurses can show you how to do it. It takes only few minutes. Some women are scared that they may actually find something, so they don't check out of fear."
For those worried about the cost of visits and checkups, there are local resources from the Health Department and West Georgia Cancer Coalition that help patients find affordable exams and mammogram. Columbus Regional Breast Cancer also offers 3D mammogram for all patients at no extra charge. It can even find the smallest amount of breast cancer.
"You are doing yourself a favor when you do self-exams," Causey said. "Early detection is key to surviving cancer."
Also, visit these sites if you need assistance to get mammogram and exams: