October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Join us in the cause to help men and women by making yourself aware and sharing the potential symptoms, risk factors, and preventions!
Signs and systems of breast cancer include:
- A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
- Change in the size, shape, or appearance of a breast
- Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
- A newly inverted nipple
- Peeling, scaling, crusting, or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple or breast skin
- Redness or pitting of the skin over the breast, similar in appearance to the skin of an orange
The precise causes of breast cancer are uncertain, but doctors know the main risk factors. It’s unclear why some people who have no risk factors develop cancer, yet other people with risk factors never do.
Factors that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer include:
- Being female
- Increasing age
- A personal history of breast conditions
- A family history of breast cancer
- Inherited genes that increase cancer risk
- Radiation exposure
- Beginning your period at a younger age
- Beginning menopause at an older age
- Having your first child at an older age
- Having never been pregnant
- Drinking alcohol
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. While you can’t prevent cancer, it is important to be proactive about your health.
Making changes in your daily life may help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Try to:
- Ask your doctor about breast cancer screenings
- Become familiar with your beast through breast self-exams
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all
- Exercise most days of the week
- Limit postmenopausal hormone therapy
A mammogram is the most important screening test for breast cancer. It can detect breast cancer up to two years before the tumor can be felt by you or the doctor. It’s recommended women age 40-45 who are at average risk of breast cancer should have a mammogram once a year.