OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
WHAT IS BREAST CANCER?
Breast Cancer is the 2nd most common cancer among women, after skin cancer. It is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. Cancer cells can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.
WHAT SYMPTOMS SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
New lump in the breast or underarm area (armpit). Pulling in of the nipple.
Thickening or swelling of part of the breast. Nipple discharge
Irritation or dimpling of the breast skin. including blood.
Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or Any change in the size or shape
the breast. Pain in the breast.
WHAT CAN I DO TO FIND BREAST CANCER EARLY?
Breast cancer screening involves checking a woman’s breasts for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease.
A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer. The United States Preventative Services Force (USPSTF) recommends that most women who are 50 to 74 years old get one every 2 years. USPSTF recommendations state that women with a parent, sibling, or child with breast cancer are at a higher risk for breast cancer and may benefit from beginning screening in their 40’s. Weighing the benefits & risks of screening is important when considering your screening options. If you’re 40 – 49 years old, talk to your health care provider about when to start screening.
ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO HAVE A MAMMOGRAM?
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of screening mammogram. If you have a low income or do not have insurance, you may qualify for a free or low-cost mammogram through the CDC’s National Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.
WHAT CAN I DO TO LOWER MY CHANCE OF GETTING BREAST CANCER?
One of the most important things you can do to lower your risk is know your risk of breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about things you cannot change:
Your personal history of breast problems.
Your family’s history of breast cancer.
Your breast density (the amount of connective & fatty tissue in your breasts).
Your age. Most breast cancers are found after age 50.
Your menstrual and childbirth history.
Your history of radiation treatment therapy to the chest or breasts.
Any history of the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), which was given between 1940 – 1971 to prevent miscarriages by your mother.
If you or your family members have known mutations in your breast cancer genes (BRACA1 or BRACA2).
Your doctor will also consider factors which can be changed, like any hormone replacement use.
Regular physical activity
Eliminating or limiting alcohol drinks to no more than 1 per day