October is Breast Cancer awareness month, a campaign designed to increase worldwide awareness to the second most common cancer in women. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to eradicate the diagnosis of breast cancer all together. It has been estimated by the American Cancer Society that there will be an estimated 271,270 new cases of breast cancer in 2019.
Unfortunately there are some risk factors like age and genetics that are unavoidable. However, an individual can take certain measures to decrease their risk of developing breast cancer. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) suggestions the following recommendations to decrease your lifetime chances of developing breast cancer: regularly exercising and maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, discussing the use of oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy with your provider, and when applicable, breast feeding your child.
Performing a self examination, by feeling for new lumps, masses, or growths in the breast tissue, is an excellent way to monitor for the development of breast cancer. Other important signs to watch out for are: skin color changes, swelling, a change in breast shape, nipple discharge, pain, skin flaking and itching, skin dimpling, or a nipple that was “an outy” suddenly changing to “an inny”. If you see any of the above mentioned changes, be sure to contact your provider as soon as possible.
Although some individuals notice breast changes, some do not. This is why is is vital to have regular mammograms beginning around 40 years of age.
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