Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed type of cancer, and second leading cause of cancer death among women in New Jersey. As scary as that sounds, know that a breast cancer diagnosis isn’t a death sentence – especially if it’s caught early.

That’s why staying on top of screening mammograms is so important. Research suggests that mammograms may lower breast cancer mortality rates by as much as 40 percent.

Suspect a breast cancer diagnosis, NJ residents? Schedule your mammogram today.

It is also important to know what’s normal for your body, and to report any changes to your doctor. While lumps can be a sign of breast cancer, in most cases they are harmless. Generally, if your doctor suspects anything, she will order a mammogram to more closely examine the tissue via x-ray. If the mammogram is abnormal, she may recommend a biopsy. The good news is that 80 percent of women who have a biopsy do not end up with a breast cancer diagnosis.

For women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, the prognosis is generally good when it is found early. In fact, if cancer is only found in one breast, and hasn’t spread, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent. Even when it has spread to regional lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 85 percent.

Although we still don’t know what causes breast cancer, researchers have identified a number of controllable risk factors—including smoking and obesity—that increase a woman’s risk of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. Leading a healthy lifestyle and staying on top of your breast health may significantly minimize your risk of developing the disease.