(Brandice J. O’Brien photo)

‘It’s never too early’: B.C. women urged to speak to their doctors about breast cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

With one in every eight women expected to get breast cancer in her lifetime, a Vancouver doctor says it’s never too early to talk to your doctor.

“Women need to be aware of what’s going on with their breasts,” Dr. Beth Donaldson, medical director and family doctor with Copeman Healthcare Centre, said.

Women without a family history of cancer should speak to a doctor about testing when they turn 40, Donaldson said.

Waiting too long, she noted, can turn a curable disease into a deadly diagnosis.

“I had one woman who had been ignoring having mammograms,” Donaldson said.

“She came to me at 49 with a lump in her neck.”

If the patient came to her in her early 40s, “she’d still be alive today.”

“When you catch it early there’s so many more options for treatment. and treatment in B.C. is excellent,” Donaldson noted.

“It’s never too early to start asking.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and BC Cancer statistics show one in 34 women die of breast cancer, compared to the one in eight diagnosed. Five year survival rates for breast cancer are higher than 80 per cent.

Women with histories of breast cancer should start talking to a doctor as early as in the 20s, Donaldson said.

When women go in, they should be prepared to provide “family history for cancers, her own [medical] history,” and be ready for a breast exam and then if needed a referral for a screening and diagnostics.”

For women who don’t have family doctors, Donaldson said they can always go to a walk-in and request testing, or call a BC Cancer clinic in their area.

READ MORE: More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

READ MORE: B.C. oncologist changing the face of breast cancer treatment


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hot weekend coming for the Okanagan region

Environment Canada said there is also a risk of thunderstorms come next week

Westside wildfire human caused

Blaze started as a house fire and spread to the bush

COVID-19 outbreak at Okanagan Correctional Centre, involves 3 staff

Three staff involved in possible exposure, health officials say

Surrey man found guilty in West Kelowna killing of common-law spouse

Tejwant Danjou was convicted of second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu in West Kelowna

Scavenger hunt promotes downtown Kelowna businesses

The Great Kelowna Scavenger Hunt is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 22

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Man who drove into music festival crowd sentenced to 14 months in jail

Several people seriously hurt during event held near Princeton

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Salmon Arm’s first Bitcoin ATM installed in mall

The kiosk will allow people to buy cryptocurrency or sell it for cash.

Summerland mayor asks for community conversation on racism

Incidents in July prompt calls for dialogue

Summerland working to reopen recreation facilities

Arena and pool are opening, but ball season will not proceed

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Most Read