EL PASO (KDBC) — According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, up to 400 women in El Paso are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Detecting breast cancer early is the key to beating it.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. This year, it will kill nearly 40,000 American women.
The Susan G. Komen for the cure recommends women 40 and older receive mammograms every year and women 21 and older get clinical exams every three years.
Studies show 74 percent of women across the country receive mammograms. In Texas, it's 59 percent and here in El Paso it's even lower. Only 55 percent of women are screened for breast cancer.
Stephanie Flora with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure encourages all women to follow the guidelines so if doctors do find cancer, the chances of beating it are higher.
"The earlier you find the breast cancer, the easier it is to treat it and the better chances of survival," said Flora. "The five year survival rate is 98 percent when found early so there are great advances in treatment and discovering the breast cancer. So it's important to find it early which is what those screenings will help do."
Women can also examine themselves at home, but Flora said it's more than just checking once-a-month like doctors have said in the past.
"It's really just an overall awareness of what's going on with your breasts…Is there a change in size, in shape, is there a pain, a lump that wasn't there before. So it's not just necessarily how they feel, but how they look too," said Flora.
If you see or feel anything out-of-the-ordinary, women should visit their doctor as soon as possible.
If you don't have insurance and you're 40 or older, there are ways to get free mammograms. Contact Susan G. Komen for the Cure El Paso office at 915-533-4433 or http://komenelpaso.org .