Tuesday , March 2 2021


Each October, a diversity of organizations, businesses and individuals take part in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to heighten public knowledge about the symptoms and treatment of this disease.
Why the focus on breast cancer, and why does it have its own awareness month? One reason is because breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in the United States (other than skin cancer) and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. But, women aren’t the only ones affected – for men the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health estimated that this year the number of new cases and deaths from breast cancer in the United States will be:
The numbers may seem formidable, but with decades of research behind us, survival rates are getting better all the time and your best chance of beating breast cancer is to find and treat it early before it has a chance to grow and spread.
Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines
According to information from the American Cancer Society, the following screening guidelines aid in the early detection of breast cancer:
• Women 20-39 should have a clinical breast exam  from a physician at least every three years.
• Woman 40 or older (the demographic most at risk of breast cancer) should have a mammogram and clinical breast exam every year.
• Women at increased risk due to family history or a past breast cancer diagnosis should consult their doctor about the possibility of more frequent screenings.
• And women and men of any age should report breast changes to a doctor right away. (A list of common breast cancer warning signs follows.)
Improving Your Odds
And while there is no way to prevent breast cancer, you can improve your odds against the disease. The American Cancer Society further recommends that the following steps can help you stay well and lower your chances of developing breast cancer:
• Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases breast cancer risk – this is especially true for women after menopause.
• Be physically active on a regular basis. Aim for least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. But don’t pack it all into a one workout; be sure to spread it out over the week.
• Limit alcohol intake to 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks for men.
Know the Warning Signs
Different people have different warning signs for breast cancer but some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all. This is why yearly mammograms for women 40 and older (the demographic most at risk of breast cancer) are so important. Symptoms that may occur prior to a breast cancer diagnosis include:
• Lump or mass in the breast or underarm/armpit.
• Swelling or density of part of the breast.
• Irritation or dimpling/pitting of breast skin.
• Scaly or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
• Retraction of the nipple.
• Nipple discharge, other than breast milk,  including blood.
• Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
• Pain or persistent tenderness in the nipple or any area of the breast.
If you see or feel any of these symptoms, even if a recent mammogram was normal, see your doctor immediately for testing. In addition to an initial diagnosis, testing helps to determine the patient’s type of breast cancer, which is key when assessing the prognosis and selecting therapy. Medical testing is also crucial in measuring the progress of the disease and in the ultimate goal of declaring a patient shows no signs of breast cancer.
• Visit the National Cancer Institute website: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/breast
• Call the American Cancer Society 24 hour helpline at 800-227-2345, or visit their  website: www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/
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