LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The purpose is to remind women to check for lumps and get mammograms regularly.
There’s a new online tool, making early diagnosis even easier.
But there are several precautions women can take.
“First, is start doing self-breast exams and recommend that even in your twenties,” Oncologist and Hematologist at Ascension Sacred Heart Bay Dr. Thomas Johnson said. “Just get in a habit with it. Pick a day of the month. A lot of times it can really be helpful to have a friend, kind of an accountability partner.”
One Bay County woman said doing her monthly Buddy Check saved her life.
“Well, in October, I found my lump Just taken a shower,” Jessica said.
At the time Jessica was only 40 years old and had no family history of breast cancer.
“I wouldn’t have you know, I didn’t go to the doctor unless I was pregnant, so I had no reason to go,” Jessica said.
Jessica didn’t think she was at risk for breast cancer and was surprised by the diagnosis.
“In like a month, it grew two centimeters and had two babies,” Jessica said. “That’s how aggressive it was. So I had to start chemo, like, right away.”
Johnson said Jessica isn’t alone.
A new tool can play a big role in early diagnosis.
“We’ve got a prognostic model that’s called Tyrer-Cuzick,” Johnson said. “That’s an Internet-based model that I use on patients, but there’s no reason patients can’t use it. And this model actually accurately predicts a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer both in the next ten years and lifetime.”
The short exam takes into account everything from family history to menstrual events.
“And if with that model, they find that their increased risk is something to talk to their doctor about,” Johnson said.
If you score 50 percent or more above the general population’s baseline, Johnson said you should speak with your doctor.
Click here for more information and to take the Tyrer-Cuzick yourself.