Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is when people all over the world show their support for those affected by a disease affecting 1 in 8 women, with a lifetime risk of 13%. In men it is 1 in 833. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers according to the American Cancer Society. In recent years, incidence rates have increased by .05% per year.
Early signs of breast cancer can be a breast lump, pain to the breast or under arm, and nipple discharge. Early on there is often no sign. That’s why annual mammograms are advised for early detection. A mammogram is painless and only takes about 10 minutes.
Keep in mind that these symptoms can also be harmless, so don’t panic. Lumps can mean cysts or benign lumps, but always error on the side of caution and get checked.
If the mammogram does show a lump, your health care practitioner will order a biopsy. This test will show if the lump is benign (harmless) or malignant (cancerous). If the lump is cancerous that an oncologist and surgeon will be consulted to plan for surgery and additional treatments as needed. Early detection is a life saver so try to not miss your annual checks.
- Being female
- Increased age
- Personal history of breast conditions or previous breast cancer
- Family history of breast cancer
- Inherited genes that increase cancer risk
- Radiation exposure
- Drinking alcohol
- Beginning your period before age 12
- Beginning menopause at an older age
- Having your first child over age 30
- Having never been pregnant
- Postmenopausal hormone therapy
What Can You Do?
- Perform monthly self-breast exams
- Look for a lump, thickened tissue, change in breast appearance, redness, newly inverted nipple.
- Get annual mammograms after age 40, sooner if a family history
- If finances are an obstacle, know that many diagnostic facilities offer discounted mammograms every September and October.
- Consult your health care provider is you are a candidate for genetic testing. We offer the Myriad Myrisk Screen
- Exercise most days of the week
- Avoid alcohol use
- Maintain a heathy weight and diet
Sources: Awareness Days, Breast Cancer Now, American Cancer Society, Mayo Clinic.
Contact our office for your appointment at 813-501-4130.