NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — There are more than 200,000 cases of breast cancer in the United States, and in 2023, it is estimated that 43,700 deaths will happen this year from breast cancer.
Those numbers contain nearly 44,000 women and more than 500 men. KX News spoke with a local diagnostic radiologist to get more information on how breast cancer is affecting those in our state.
There are more than four million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. (including women still being treated and those who have completed treatment). Breast Cancer Statistics and Resources and North Dakota Health and Human Resources say breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer for women in North Dakota.
Doctor Christina Tello-Skjerset, a diagnostic radiologist at Sanford Medical Center, says breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women after non-melanoma skin cancer.
“One in eight women in the U.S. will get breast cancer in their lifetime,” Dr. Skjerset stated, “which is why we have such active screening guidelines here in the U.S. We can find those breast cancers when they’re small and early, and when the treatments are more accessible and better for the women.”
According to the CDC’s guidelines, women between the ages of 50-74 should get a mammogram done every two years. It is also encouraged that women 40-49 talk to their doctor or other health care provider if they’d like to begin screenings.
“Early signs of breast cancer can include a lump or bump that you feel sometimes, Tello-Skjerset continued. “It can be pain or nipple discharge. A lot of the breast cancers we actually find during screenings can be found before you can actually feel them or have some kind of skin changes.”
If you get anxious about getting a mammogram done, you’re not alone.
According to The National Institutes of Health, some women avoid getting breast cancer screening examinations due to the pain and stress that come along with them. However, Doctor Tello-Skjerset says getting them done can give you that peace of mind — as well as potentially increase the chances of catching it at an early stage.
“What we would like our patients to do is to get annual mammograms starting at age 40,” Dr. Tello-Skjerset stated, “so we’re able to find those tiny ones before you actually get symptoms from them.”
Mammograms are not routinely offered to men, but they are still highly recommended.
To learn more about breast cancer screening guidelines for both women and men, visit this page on the CDC’s website.