SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Sunday marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Many will wear pink to celebrate survivorship while others will feel grief.

An expert from St. Joseph’s/Candler explains why women should take early detection seriously.

Lora Reese, Director of Performance Improvement and Diagnostic Services at the Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion, says 40,000 Americans still die every year from breast cancer.

“And that’s a travesty,” Reese added. “We should be able to turn those numbers around.

“Now that we have better ways to detect higher risk in women and other surveillance options, we can do it.”

Catching it small enough and soon enough is key, she says.

“You can survive over 90% of the time and that is unheard of in other cancers. You know, we’re extremely lucky that way,” said Reese.

She adds that one mammogram can be the difference between life and death.

“And we cannot take it for granted,” Reese said.

It’s programs like Buddy Check 3 that remind women to check their breasts monthly and follow the guidelines for regular mammograms.

“So we just really can’t say thank you enough to everyone who does that and allows us to continue this every year in the community during October and all throughout the year, as you do with Buddy Check 3, which is another important way to just get the word out about annual mammography,” Reese said.

WSAV News 3 is On Your Side with Buddy Check 3 every third of the month to remind you and your buddies to complete your breast self-exams.

Click or tap here to learn more about the program.

If you have any questions or concerns about breast health, call the SJ/C Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion at 912-819-7053.