From the Daily Times, Maryville Tn. 09-25-2011:
Blount County resident Shirley Metzger’s family history of breast cancer has made her diligent about having annual mammograms and performing monthly self-breast exams. When the Michigan native reached age 74, however, she says she figured she had dodged the breast cancer bullet.
“I thought since I was over age 70, I was never going to get breast cancer,” said Metzger. “I still went to get my mammogram and kept checking my breasts though, because I knew that you’re never too old to get cancer.”
Metzger’s dedication to prevention paid off in late 2009 when, while recuperating from wrist surgery, she noticed a “strange feeling” in her left breast. Her self-exam revealed a slight growth under her left nipple. When she went in for her annual mammogram in February 2010, Metzger reported her findings. Her mammogram came back negative, but an ultrasound followed by a biopsy confirmed the cancer.
“I was in shock,” said Metzger.
According to the ACS, women ages 50-64 make up the largest number of breast cancer cases in the United States. This also is the group shown to benefit the most from mammography.
Cancer experts agree that the mammogram is one of the best tools available for the early detection of breast cancer. Women who choose not to follow the recommended age-based schedule for mammograms could be diagnosed later with more-advanced breast cancer that is harder to control and, therefore, results in higher death rates.
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