Tri-Cities Cancer Center raises breast cancer awareness - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tri-Cities Cancer Center raises breast cancer awareness

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and a presentation at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center in Kennewick aimed to educate people about the signs and risks of the disease.

At the presentation, doctors said one in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime and learning about the disease is one of the best ways to catch it.

"The most important thing that people need to realize is the earlier we diagnose a cancer, the more treatment options you have and the better prognosis, the better the chance of a longer, healthier life," said Cindy Miller, Tri-Cities Cancer Center Community Educator.

Millions of women are living longer lives because of breast cancer awareness. In fact, experts say 2.6 million women are on record for having survived the disease .

Today's speaker, Doctor Laurie Evans, says women need to listen to their bodies, do self exams at all ages, and start getting mammograms.

"I think the recommendation to start (getting mammograms) at 50 is erroneous. I don't believe that's the place to start," Evans said.

One change in treatment is more women are opting for mastectomies.

"I do a fair number of mastectomies and believe it or not I actually do more double mastectomies than I used to. Part of that has to do with there's certainly a fear factor. People don't want to go through this process again. It's bad enough to do it once," Evans said.

Doctor Evans also says mastectomies are now more culturally accepted and there are better options for reconstruction. No matter which treatment route a woman takes, the most important choice is being proactive to catch it early.

"Get her mammogram's and if something still doesn't feel right, I push them to take it to the next level. Get another opinion. No test is perfect. You have to be your own best advocate," Evans said.