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Montana VA promoting breast cancer awareness

Posted at 5:09 PM, Oct 17, 2023

HELENA — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Montana VA is spreading awareness about early detection.

“Here at VA Montana our woman health team is providing a lot of education on breast cancer awareness,” said Jeanette Ricks, a Breast Health Nurse Navigator.

The Montana VA encourages veterans to be proactive with breast health during October.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, and the second leading cause of cancer death in women.

“Breast cancer does not discriminate. It affects men and woman,” Ricks said.

One in eight women, and one in 100 men, in Montana will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

That is about 68,000 Montanans.

The VA provides veterans with a variety of health services.

“From screening mammograms, risk assessments, cancer care and post-cancer care as well,” said Ricks.

Monthly self-exams can also detect many of the symptoms of early breast cancer.

“Lumps, change in texture, pain, unusual shape, or size. Those are all reasons to contact your primary care team,” Ricks said.

The VA says it is important for people to be breast-aware, so they can detect these changes.

“Know what your breast looks like normally so you can detect any changes early and report that to your care provider for assessment,” said Ricks.

Early detection leads to better outcomes and saves lives.

If the cancer is caught while only in the breast, the survival rate is nearly 99 percent.