AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and doctor’s can’t say it enough, get screened and do it regularly.

“The average age is at 40, said Teresa Baker, M.D., an OB/GYN at Texas Tech Physicians. “A woman should start with screening mammograms. However, that changes if she has family history of breast cancer, or obviously, if she finds anything that’s of concern to her.”

The American Cancer Society says nearly 288,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women this year.

For minority women, the risk could be higher.

“It’s definitely there’s no question that African-American women have an increased risk of what we call inflammatory breast cancers. So there’s, those are really aggressive and fast growing breast cancers that show up younger. So obviously, you should talk about family history,” Dr. Baker emphasized.

Why is family history so important?

“When you come in and talk to your care provider, that’s the first thing they’re going to want to know is what family members have had breast cancer, how old were they when they were diagnosed? What kinds of breast cancers are,” she explained.

What are the signs to look for?

“The major sign that women would find is if they feel a lump, or they see an area on their breasts that’s changed. So we encourage women to look at their breasts and to put their hands up and put their hands on their hips and kind of flex and see if the breast itself is changing,” she told us.

If you’d like to get screened but don’t have insurance or feel like you can’t afford it ,that’s no problem.

“If they come the Harrington Cancer Center, or Northwest Imaging (Center), or Texas Breast Oncology, all of these places have funds available or grants available that they can apply for so that they can get screening. Don’t go without it for money, we can overcome the issue of funding,” she added.

For more information on screening resources in our area, click here.