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Local breast cancer survivor gives insight on new recommended mammogram age


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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends women begin getting mammograms at age 40 instead of 50.

Local author, pilot, and cancer survivor, Nancy Robinson Masters, said this new suggestion could be a lifesaver for many women.

Masters has a mindset, a way to turn the negative to positive.

“Everybody has downs but you turn those downs into ups by how you deal with them," said Masters.

Masters was diagnosed with breast cancer about ten years ago.

“I had had before that checkups and routine mammograms," Masters recalled.

“In 2022, there were about 19,000 cases of breast cancer among American women, and that rate has been increasing steadily since 2015," said Dr. Zoie Walker, a family medicine physician at Hendrick Health.

According to Walker, recent research shows breast cancer risk in women ages 40 to 50 has gone up over the past few years.

“Just like any cancer, it’s important to catch breast cancer early," said Walker. "That way we have all of the available treatments and we can treat your cancer before it’s progressive.”

One in eight women will get diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The sooner you can find any potential problem, oh the odds of winning go up tremendously,” said Masters.

Five years after her breast cancer diagnosis, Masters was diagnosed with lung cancer.

She never let her battles get in her way. Her most recent reports, taken at the beginning of this month, showed no new cancer.

“Life goes on and there’s so much to live for and I don’t let my body parts define me,” Masters reclaimed.

For those thinking of getting a mammogram -- "I want to include men in the recommendation," said Masters. "Get those tests, don’t be afraid, breast cancer can happen to anyone.”

If you want to schedule a mammogram but are worried about coverage, the Hendrick Health Hope Fund may be able to help.

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