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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, an emotional month for an enormous group of people who have been affected by breast cancer. People from all over the country participate in a variety of ways to raise awareness of the risks of breast cancer, promote early detection and rally to raise money for research into its cause, treatment and ultimately cure.

Did you know the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year? Additionally, more than 40,000 women die from the disease each year. With numbers like this you can see why a month to raise awareness matters so much to so many people.

Here are a few facts: Breast cancer is the second most common cancer found in American women. Though breast cancer is typically found in an older age group, at least 10% of new breast cancer cases are diagnosed in women 45 years old and under each year. These numbers are frightening for women of any age and it is important that every woman takes preventative measures and make sure they are proactively trying to decrease their risk.

What does prevention look like?

There are several preventative measures you can take to help lower your risk of getting breast cancer. Lifestyle changes, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can help. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Physical Activity – The American Cancer Society recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity weekly. Don’t let this scare you away. You don’t need to have an intensive routine to lower your risk. Activity equal to walking 30 minutes a day can lower risk by about three percent.
  • Eliminate Cigarettes and Alcohol – Even small amounts of alcohol can increase the risk of breast cancer. Research suggests drinking less than one drink a day to help keep that risk factor down.
  • Breastfeeding – Some research indicates that the longer you breastfeed, the less likely you are to develop breast cancer.
  • Avoid Exposure – Radiation and environmental toxins can lead to breast cancer. Limit any exposure you might have to these things and protect yourself when you are.
  • Education – Educate yourself by talking to your doctor, getting involved in breast cancer awareness activities, and being proactive.
  • Screening – The Preventative Services Task Force recommends that women over 50 get a mammogram every two years. Early detection of breast cancer can significantly lower the risk of death.

Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

Not every person shows symptoms prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer, but there are symptoms to be aware of and to watch for. Early detection is a key element of surviving breast cancer. The earlier it is found, the earlier it can be treated. Pay attention to your body and watch for these common symptoms:

  • Variation in size or shape of the breast
  • Pain or tender areas of the breast
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Lumps in the breast or underarm

If you notice any of these signs, call your doctor immediately!

Some people are at higher risk of developing breast cancer than others. Family history, race and ethnicity can all play a key role. Understanding your risk and taking preventative measures are the best proactive steps you can take. During October, join the nation in raising awareness for breast cancer and pass this information along. With continued efforts from each of us there truly is hope for a cure.


Sources:
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/risk-and-prevention/can-i-lower-my-risk.html

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/breastcancerawareness/index.htm

https://www.cancer.org/healthy/eat-healthy-get-active/acs-guidelines-nutrition-physical-activity-cancer-prevention.html

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