In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the Florida Department of Health in Lake County encourages all women to receive regular screenings to promote early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Aside from non-melanoma skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Over the last decade, survival rates have increased, however, early detection continues to be critically important.

“In my opinion, a successful breast cancer treatment starts with a good screening which not only includes Breasts studies like mammograms or breast Ultrasounds, but also a woman’s self-awareness of her body,” said Dr. Jose Perez, Senior Physician, Florida Department of Health in Lake County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of breast cancer increases with age. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early when treatment is more effective. Women should talk with their healthcare provider about individual risk factors and the frequency of receiving mammograms.

The CDC recommends regular mammograms and paying attention to the following changes in the look and feel of the breast, including:

  • A new lump in the breast;
  • A lump that has changed in size;
  • A change in the size and shape of the breast;
  • Pain in the breast or nipple that does not go away;
  • Flaky, red or swollen skin anywhere on the breast;
  • A nipple that is very tender or that begins to turn inward; and
  • Blood or any other type of fluid coming from the nipple that is not milk when nursing a baby.

The Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (FBCCEDP) provides access to the breast and cervical cancer screenings doctors recommend. The screenings are free or low cost if you meet program eligibility requirements.

To see if you qualify, call DOH-Lake at 352-771-5500 or call the American Cancer Society National Hotline at 1-800-227-2345 to get more information on the program.

Medicare insurance also provides mammograms to women age 65 and older without a copay. Please call 1-800-633-4227 for information on receiving mammograms through Medicare.