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Cancer is a disease in which cells become abnormal and form more cells in an uncontrolled way. With breast cancer, the cancer begins in the tissues that make up the breasts. The cancer cells may form a mass called a tumor. Getting a mammogram (x-ray of the breast) can help find the cancer early. This gives a woman more treatment options and makes it more likely she will survive the cancer.
Asian-American women have the lowest death rates from breast cancer compared to other groups of women. But breast cancer is still a very real health threat to Asian-American women. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Asian-American women. For Filipino women, it is the leading cause of death. Japanese-American women have the highest breast cancer rate among Asian-American women. Many experts think that the Western lifestyle might play a role in this high rate.
Asian-American women have the same breast cancer screening needs as all women. Yet, compared to all other women in the United States, Asian-American women are the least likely to have ever had a mammogram. Getting a mammogram regularly is the best way to find breast cancer early, when it's easiest to treat.
We do not know how to prevent breast cancer. But there are things you can do to reduce your risk, such as limiting how much alcohol you drink and being physically active.
There also are things you can do to find breast cancer early. Breast cancer screening looks for signs of cancer before a woman has symptoms. Screening can help find breast cancer early when it's most treatable. Two tests are commonly used to screen for breast cancer:
Regular screening is the best way to find breast cancer early in most women. If you are at higher risk you may need mammograms at an earlier age or more often. Or, your doctor might want to use other tests too. Let your doctor know if you find a change in your breast, such as a lump or nipple discharge that isn't breast milk.
Content last updated: May 18, 2010.