Health & Wellness
OCTOBER: BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
Breast cancer causes cells in the breast tissue to divide and grow without normal control. 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer in her lifetime; it is a widespread and random disease, striking women and men of all ages and races. It is the most prevalent cancer in the world today, with about 1.3 million people diagnosed and 40,000 people dying, annually.
Currently there is not sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer, therefore, early detection of the disease remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control. When breast cancer is detected early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured. If detected late, however, curative treatment is often no longer an option. In such cases, palliative care to relieve the suffering of patients and theirfamilies is needed.
BREAST CANCER RISK FACTORS & SYMPTOMS
Risk Factors: You have a higher chance of breast cancer if you are a woman, if you are age 50 years or older, and if you have experienced changes in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Warning Signs: Symptoms of breast cancer may include any change in the size or the shape of the breast, pain in any area of the breast, nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood), and/or a newly-identified lump in the breast or underarm areas.
BREAST CANCER PREVENTION
In addition to receiving regular breast cancer screenings/mammograms, prevention measures include keeping a healthy weight and exercising regularly, limiting the amount of alcohol you drink, breastfeeding your children (if at all possible), and if you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control medications, discussing the risks with your doctor.
Although breast cancer mostly occurs among older women, about 11% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age. Breast cancer in young women is more likely to be hereditary, is more likely to be aggressive, and typically found at a later stage. For more information, please visit nationalbreastcancer.org or cancer.org.