Laurel oncologist urges breast cancer screening starting at 40

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Breast cancer...two words we've all heard before - it's a disease that has affected someone we love, whether it's our mother, sister, or friend. The disease is real.

"It is very real, and it affects women of all ages," said Laurel oncologist Shannon Penland. "The national guidelines are that women should start screening for mammogram at the age of 40 and really we recommend every year thereafter."

Laurel oncologist Shannon Penland says she women who have a history of breast cancer in their families should consider getting a mammogram before the age of 40. Screening saves lives, she says. It catches and detects cancers at early stages when they are curable, before the enter the lymph or spread to other parts of the body and is critical to early detection.

She says there are also several ways that you can potentially avoid getting the disease. We know that an active lifestyle has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Avoiding or taking only short-term hormone replacements once you go through menopause. Other things that women can do is dietary. Also, women should avoid smoking and alcohol, as there has been some evidence that the alcohol consumption on a regular bases increases breast cancer risk.

"We tell women that it is good for your over all health to eat a healthy diet, but there is also some suggestion that it effects breast cancer risk as well."

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