(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

Businesses mixed on downtown temporary washroom

Ladysmith Health Food Stores launches petition against the temporary washroom

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Cheri Mactier celebrates 20 years in Ladysmith real estate

After 20 years in town, Mactier’s daughter, Brianne Mactier is joining the family business

Exhibit showcases one side of artist’s wide-ranging personality

Skagfeld takes something from all of her life experiences

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Most Read