(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

Tofino and Ucluelet’s Top 10 sports and arts stories of 2019

Revisiting the Coast’s best sports and arts newsmakers of the past year.

Rent-It Centre takes over curbside collection contract in Tofino and Ucluelet

Rent It Centre’s bid was $25,865 lower than the only other bidder, SonBird Refuse and Recycling.

Tofino’s first cannabis dispensary opens

“I don’t know where it’s going, but happy how it’s gone so far.”

Tofino welcomes much needed veterinarian to town

West Coast has not had a full-time vet since Dr. Jane Hunt surrendered her licence in 2004.

Looking back on the West Coast’s top 10 news stories

Tofino and Ucluelet’s top headlines of 2019.

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

Blue Monday is a myth but seasonal affective disorder and the winter blues are real

Canadian Mental Health Association says weather can affect mood

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Most Read