As a part of breast cancer awareness month, health officias are urging women to begin screening for the disease at age 40 and continue getting mammograms each year.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, with around 300,000 women in the United States diagnosed each year. One in eight women is expected to have breast cancer in her lifetime.
Dr. Robert Mocharnuk of the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield explained the importance of annual exams for early detection of breast cancer.
Mocharnuk added that when breast cancer is detected at an earlier stage, the prognosis is much better. He said survival rates depend upon the disease's stage at the time of diagnosis.
Insurance companies and Medicare are required to cover mammography screening for breast cancer. Low income women without insurance may qualify for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer program.
Illinois Media Services contributed to this report.