Early detection has proven to be a key in the fight against breast cancer.

That information is important all year round, but receives special emphasis during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

According to American Cancer Society, American women have about a 13% risk developing breast cancer during their lifetime.

Unfortunately, nearly 42,000 American women are expected to die from the disease each year, making it the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among females.

The outcomes could improve for those women if breast cancer is detected earlier through earlier diagnosis and screening. It’s recommended all women begin having an annual checkup with their doctor by at least age 21.

Guidelines of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women who don’t have a significant family history of breast cancer or other risk factors start annual mammograms at age 40.

According for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning signs of breast cancer include:

• New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).

• Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.

• Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.

• Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.

• Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.

• Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.

• Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.

• Pain in any area of the breast.

While these symptoms also can occur with other non-cancer conditions, you’re encouraged to see a physician as soon as possible if these symptoms concern you.

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