Women who take charge of their lives do things every day to maintain good health, whether it’s taking daily vitamins, exercising regularly or visiting the doctor for an annual exam. You can also take proactive steps to protect the health of your breasts. Doing self-breast exams regularly and having an annual mammogram if you are over 40 are important, but both look for cancer after it’s cancer.
The Annual Breast Check (ABC) is a short questionnaire that can help you and your doctor decide whether to go beyond mammograms and breast exams to protect your breast health. To complete the ABC and print a copy to share with your doctor. Responses will be collected in a database for statistical analysis, but no identifying information, such as your name or email, will be collected.
ABC includes information on some new tests too. For example, now a simple 5-minute test called the HALO Well Breast Test can alert women 25 and older to changes in their breasts before cancer develops.
Women who have one or more “yes” responses in the first section of ABC or three or more “yes” responses in the second section should schedule a comprehensive breast cancer risk assessment to quantify their risk and develop a personalized risk reduction and management plan. If your doctor doesn’t offer comprehensive breast cancer risk assessment, he or she can refer you to a breast specialist. The ABC is not intended to take the place of comprehensive risk assessment and is only intended to alert the right women to seek a more thorough assessment. Knowing your risk empowers you to make intelligent healthy choices.