Breast Cancer at Fifty and the Celebrities Who Survived It
October 24th, 2016
Written by Natalie Adams
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 246,660 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women this year. While breast cancer can happen to a woman at any age, most of these cases will occur in women age 50 and older. Statistics show that 1 in 53 women in their fifties will get breast cancer while just 1 in 233 women in their forties will develop the disease. The risk factor for breast cancer increases as a woman ages due to menopause, which causes a decline in estrogen and other hormones, and due to overall cellular changes that occur with aging.
Though the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, early prevention and detection can save lives. Clinical breast exams and mammographies can find breast cancer early, before warning signs and symptoms develop. The American Cancer Society advises women age forty five to fifty five to get annual mammograms and to continue getting mammograms either annually or every two years from the age of fifty five and up. A woman should continue getting screened as long as she is healthy and is expected to live 10 years or more. Early detection can increase the likelihood that treatment will eradicate breast cancer and prevent it from spreading throughout the body. Annual screenings are extremely recommended by national organizations as well as by many celebrities who survived breast cancer.
Jaclyn Smith is one such famous actress who was diagnosed and beat breast cancer thanks to early detection. Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer through her annual mammogram at age fifty seven. Since her cancer was caught early, the doctors were able to eradicate it before it spread. Her experience taught her that “early detection is the key to a good prognosis…women need their yearly mammograms and they need to see their doctor regularly.” Smith has acknowledged that just being female and over fifty are huge risk factors for breast cancer, despite healthy habits and no family history of breast cancer. “I had no family history, and I thought, I’m great, I feel good, nothing’s going cuckoo in my body. You don’t always know.” Remember, just because you feel perfectly healthy, unfortunately, breast cancer, can secretly lurk.
Such was also the case for actress and author of over sixteen books on health and wellness, Suzanne Somers. As the picture of health at fifty four, Somers thought her body was in top form when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She never smoked or drank and she ate right. Somers’ diagnosis shows us that “we’re all at risk for cancer.” Unfortunately, no matter how healthy a woman may feel, cancer can attack the body at any time. Therefore, the importance of yearly screenings for early detection can not be stressed enough, especially for women fifty and older. Remember, while many wonderful organizations are fighting to put an end to breast cancer, currently, the best defense we have is a good offense.