Montana Health News

Feb 28, 2013 9:58 AM by Laura Wilson - KAJ News

Breast cancer detection stressed in Kalispell

KALISPELL - Deadly breast cancer cases are on the rise according to a 34 year analysis, and you may be surprised to hear that the biggest increase of Stage 4 breast cancer was found in young women.

A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association showed the number of women between the ages of 25 and 39, diagnosed with metastic breast cancer, jumped up about 3.5% annually during a nine year period.

There's no real explanation provided as to why numbers have risen, and Kalispell Regional Medical Center Bass Breast Center Director Melissa Hulvat says that ultimately, they're still small numbers.

But, Hulvat does hope the study will help educate more young women about early breast cancer detection, and the resources available to them in the Flathead Valley.

"A lot of the screening programs focus on women who are 40 and older, or 50 and older. The [Flathead] City-County Health Department has excellent services available for young women. I would stress that that should be part of your annual exam. It's not just a pap smear, it's a pap smear and a clinical breast exam. So, any health provider should be able to set you on the right path," she explained.

Hulvat also told us that the local non-profit organization Save-A-Sister provides financial assistance to breast cancer patients of all ages.

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