This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a reminder that regular exams save lives.

“They key to surviving breast cancer is early detection,” said Dr. Ruby Meierotto, lead breast radiologist at St. Luke’s Hospitals. She spoke at Thursday’s Independence Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon.

She said breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer among women, after skin cancer, and the second-leading cause of death from cancer among women. One woman in eight, she said, will deal with the disease.

She said annual mammograms – and she suggested the 3-D variety – are vital for women 40 and older.

“So a 15-minute exam just once a year can save your life,” she said.

And she urged men to remind the women in their lives to take action.

“Encourage them to get that mammogram and be proactive about their breast health,” she said.