Your Health: Beating Breast Cancer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States, with the exception of some forms of skin cancer. More than 200,000 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.
They hope to join the more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors living with, or beating, the disease. For the next month, on Your Health we'll feature stories of survival, and new information in the fight against breast cancer.
Pam Clevenger of Gainesville is a two-time breast cancer survivor. Twice she has fought back against a disease that takes nearly 40,000 lives every year.
"I thought I was going to die," Clevenger says, "I didn't realize that, caught early, it is so curable and so treatable."
At UF Health in Gainesville, Clevenger went through everything from radiation treatment to a double mastectomy and reconstruction - options that decades ago would not have been available.
"We're catching cancer a lot earlier these days," Dr. Lisa Spiguel with UF Health Surgical Oncology says, "so women with early stage breast cancer have a lot more options in regards to treatment, reconstruction."
Survival rates are increasing, the key is catching it early.
Despite changes in recommendations from the CDC, many doctors still recommend an annual mammogram starting at age 40, and women with a family history might want to consider earlier screenings.
Also gaining emphasis is the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Studies show not smoking, limiting alcohol, and being physically active can all help reduce your risk.
"We as women have finally taken our voices over and said 'You know what? We're not going to take this laying down, we're gonna fight' and i think that's really changing the culture," Clevenger says.
For more information about breast cancer, visit ufhealth.org
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