5 things all women need to know about breast cancer

If you're trying to find a consensus about when to get screened for breast cancer, you're not alone. There is a lot of confusing and conflicting advice out there.

Here are the top five things experts said you should know about breast cancer:

  • Annual mammograms should start at age 40
  • Know your family's medical history
  • Your chances of developing cancer increase as you age
  • Don't ignore the signs
  • Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor, especially if you have concerns

It's important visit your doctor annually. Experts said regular checkups could help save your life. And that was the case with Omega Jones.

"I received those words no one in the world wants to hear - you have cancer," said Jones who is a breast cancer survivor. "I was thinking negative thoughts. They run through your mind everything from you're going to die to no one will be there to take care of your kids."

Jones was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 at age 48. She admits she was a woman caught up in her career and as a result of that her health suffered. But today, she is a survivor.

"I was guilty. It was four years before I had gotten a mammogram."

Angie Syphrit with Cape Fear Valley Medical Center told ABC11 that a lot of women neglect their health but getting mammograms every year helps.

"The American Cancer Society recommends starting at age 45, but it should be available to every woman starting at age 40," said Syphrit. "As we age, our chances of developing breast cancer increases."

National numbers show 1 out of 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and that 99 percent of all breast cancer cases are in women, but one percent are in men, so talking to your doctor is a must.

Omega Jones said she is grateful to be alive and well.

"Can you imagine if I would've gone another four years without a mammogram? I wouldn't be here today ... Go get those mammograms ladies! Listen to your body!"
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