5 Medical Tests Every Latina Should Have Done Now
06/11/2012 - 19:00 | 0 Comments|
While certain diseases strike every ethnic group, Latinas are affected at a much higher rate and have a poorer prognosis for many. Accessibility to healthcare, education, prevention and early detection are key to making significant changes within our communities. Here’s what you need to know to keep yourself healthy and safe, according to Dr. Helen Troncoso, Ms. New York America and a women’s health advocate.
Why? Latinas get breast cancer at an earlier age and are more likely to die from breast cancer than other women. We are also diagnosed at a later, less treatable stage and have larger tumors.
How is the test done? A mammogram is an x-ray of your breasts. Your breasts are placed between two plates and then compressed momentarily. While not the most pleasant thing in the world, any discomfort from the compression lasts seconds. Newer guidelines recommend a mammogram starting at age 50 if you do not have any other risk factors, or a family history of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society still recommends starting them when you are 40 years old. A clinical breast exam is given by your health provider starting at age 20 and at least every three years after. While a self breast exam is nowhere near as effective, young women should still feel comfortable with knowing how their breasts feel and report any changes or concerns to their doctor.
You should know that the reason mammograms don’t work as well on younger women is because our breasts are more dense, making it harder to spot tumors. Breasts implants in the past were not associated with causing an increased risk for breast cancer. However, last year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), announced there might be a possible association with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a very rare but treatable form of cancer. The FDA recommends those with implants and no symptoms to screen their breasts regularly, and no need to remove the implants.