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Doctors stress importance of early detection during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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breast cancer

(WSIL)---On average, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States every 2 minutes.

The World Health Organization says it is the most common cancer among women world wide, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives each year.

"For women at very age, it can be a possibility," said Dr. Muhammad Popalzai, the SIH Cancer Institute Medical Director.

Dr. Popalzai is also a hematologist and oncologist.

As advancements in the field grow, survival rates have been on the rise since 1990, in part due to early detection.

"The bottom line is, breast cancer screening has a very prominent vital role in early detection and reducing the mortality from breast cancer," said Dr. Popalzai.

Through the pandemic, many people have put off getting wellness checks due to safety precautions.

Doctors at SIH say there are now enough precautions in place that screenings are safe to resume, and are encouraged.

"With those in place, you should still be considering getting your mammograms done at the regular intervals at whatever is the recommended schedule for you or for anybody. Because the pandemic but may delay it, but if somebody has a breast cancer, it's not going to stop growing," said said Dr. Popalzai.

While representatives from SIH recommend women 40 and older get yearly mammograms for prevention, those with a family history should speak with their physician even earlier than that.

And for those who are apprehensive about getting screened, Dr. Popalzai said the best time to get screened--is when you feel perfectly healthy.

"You want to diagnose cancer at a point when you're feeling good. Most of the time, especially with breast cancer, when you're not feeling good, it's already too late," said Dr. Popalzai.

Multimedia Journalist

Madeline Parker is a Multimedia Journalist at News 3 WSIL. Madeline joined the team in 2020 and graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a Bachelor’s in Electronic Journalism and a minor in Communication Studies.

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