BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Throughout October, CBS 42 is partnering with UAB for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

On Friday, Dr. Rachael Lancaster joined CBS 42’s Jack Royer to discuss the mission of the month and what is being done to combat and treat the disease.

Dr. Lancaster, you’ve dedicated your life to this, but there are so many people who only are reminded of it unless they’ve been touched by it once a year, when we all wear pink and try to raise awareness. Tell us about the significance of this month from your perspective?

Yeah, so all this month is certainly very important and highlights breast cancer and that disease and the implications for so many patients and families. It is unfortunately something that we deal with all year long, and so it’s important for us during this time to not only reflect on how the disease is impacting people, but also take action, and this is a time for me and you to encourage women to screen for breast cancer and be aware of any changes to the breasts, but certainly when it’s caught early, there is a much better chance for a cure and potentially more options as far as treatment and things like that. So I think that’s the significance of this month is just really being able to focus on the importance of screening and early detection.

And you mentioned how what a blessing it is that if caught early, often so much can be done with the work that you and your colleagues do. What would you want to tell the average person, who like I said, may not think about it as often, what they should look out for, themselves, and their loved ones and how easy it is to get screened?

It is incredibly easy to get screened. Really, that just typically involves a mammogram that can be done quite quickly, easy to schedule, but the things to look out for would really be any changes to the breasts, such as if there were a new mass, if there were to be a discharge, some breast that are not typical, changes to the skin; those are all reasons to alert your providers, whether that be your primary care doctor or your OBGYN, any changes in the breast and that can help facility the mammograms. But if you’re asymptomatic and don’t have any of the symptoms, that’s even better and we still encourage you to get mammogram every year.

Great points. There’s always something exciting happening in terms of progress being made on this front, thanks to the work that you and your colleagues do. Tell us about the Wisdom study that’s underway right now at UAB.

So the Wisdom study is a study evaluating screening for breast cancer and currently, we recommend screening every single year for women over 40 and we continue to recommend that, but if a woman were interested in potentially learning more about their risk for breast cancer, then the Wisdom study could be a good option. They can go to the website and learn more about that. But if a woman is not interested, we still encourage the typical standard mammograms, and even if a woman is still interested in participating in the study, she can still met her stand mammograms and be a part of the study, so there’s a lot of options for all women.

Indeed. It’s easier than you think. That is the message to take away this Friday morning. Dr. Rachael Lancaster, one of the hard-working doctors at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. Dr. Lancaster, thank you so much for your time.

Thank you so much for highlighting this for our population in Birmingham. We appreciate it.