Did you know that one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime? That’s 246,000 women who will be diagnosed in the U.S. annually, and 40,000 who will die from breast cancer.Rose Melendez

The good news? Simply knowing your risk and getting the right screenings can save lives by detecting and treating cancer early. Nurse Rose Melendez, head of Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center’s Emergency Department and Nursing Administration tells us how to stay on top of your breast health.

Are there certain people who are at a higher risk of developing cancer?

Nurse Rose: There’s no one formula for who will get breast cancer, but these are some risk factors that are commonly seen among women who get breast cancer.

  • Being older than age 55
  • Lifestyle choices like drinking alcohol, being overweight or lack of exercise
  • Genetics
  • Personal or family history of cancer.

When should women begin getting mammograms?

Nurse Rose: By age 40, women should begin receiving annual mammograms, but it’s never too early to talk with your OBGYN or primary care physician about your family history and other possible risks for developing breast cancer.

What are the main steps women should take to protect their breast health?

Nurse Rose: Follow these recommendations to stay on top of your breast health.

  • Know your risk factors and talk to your doctor about them.
  • Conduct monthly self-breast exams starting at age 20
  • Get annual mammograms beginning at age 40

Women with a family history of cancer or a personal history of other health conditions may need to begin getting mammograms earlier. You should consult your OBGYN or primary care doctor about the right screenings for you.

This October, learn your risk for breast cancer by visiting Adventist HealthCare’s free breast cancer risk assessment at www.YourBreastHealth.com. You could win a free weekend getaway to the Hotel Hershey Resort and Spa.

Additional Health Tips from Rose

Find more family health tips online or tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to hear Rose live.