DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Friday is the first day of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, a time set aside every October to raise awareness about a disease that one in eight women will be diagnosed with at some point during their lifetime.

Angelita Danzy is a registered nurse at Southeast Health who specializes in breast care and she is emphasizing the importance of prevention, particularly with mammogram screenings.

According to Danzy, there is no specific age when someone can develop breast cancer, she said she has seen women in their 20’s diagnosed. This is why she encourages every woman to take control of her health and get a mammogram.

“About 20 percent of the patients that come and have biopsies done, those come back positive, Danzy said. “It is about 20 percent, it seems like a low number but if you are in that 20 percent then it is pretty significant.”

Danzy said according to the American Cancer Society women between the ages of 40 to 44 have the choice to start screening, but women who have a genetically higher risk for breast cancer should start screening earlier. She said being able to say ‘yes ma’am I got my mammogram’ can be life-saving.

“It’s scary because no one wants to hear, hey your mammogram is abnormal you have to come back because you automatically start thinking the worst,” Danzy said.

Danzy said Southeast Health offers both 3D and 2D mammograms and encourages those who need to get checked to set up an appointment as soon as possible.

“That is the importance of getting your screenings done, following up with your primary care physician, make sure you get screening mammograms done every year, doing your self-breast health exams,” Danzy said.

Danzey tells WDHN News breast cancer most often occurs in women but said there are cases where men, too, have been diagnosed. She said there are no formal screenings for men, but it’s important for men to know their bodies and if they find something unusual, not to be reluctant to get checked.