October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Here’s What You Need to Know
Second, to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among American Women. In fact, each year, over 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States alone, and over 40,000 die as a result of the disease.
While those numbers are startling, it’s important to remember that, if detected and treated early, you can increase the likelihood that treatment will be successful. However, in order to detect it early, you must be proactive about your health, ensuring you are scheduling regular screenings.
What is Breast Cancer and how does it start?
Breast Cancer is caused by the accelerated growth of the cells within the breast. This overabundance of unneeded cells can cause tumors to form. These tumors can sometimes be felt, but in the very early stages, they are usually detected through an x-ray. If these tumors are what’s called ‘malignant,’ or ‘cancerous,’ it means that the cells are capable of invading other areas of the body through the blood or lymph systems.
Symptoms to Watch For
Breast cancer can reveal itself in the form of various symptoms. However, it is also common for women to either never experience any symptoms at all, or experience symptoms so faint that they go unnoticed.
But there are some key warning signs: Be on the lookout for any change to the shape or size of the breast, any discharge (other than breast milk), and pain or lumps in the breast or underarm areas.
Common Risk Factors
While there are a number of ways you can reduce your risk of breast cancer, whether or not you’re susceptible to the disease has a lot to do with factors that are uncontrollable:
Females are more susceptible:
Did you know both males and females can get breast cancer? While it is certainly possible for a man to have breast cancer, it occurs 100 times more often in women.
More than any other race, breast cancer is more commonly diagnosed in Caucasian women.
Women who are 55 or older pose a higher risk of breast cancer than younger women do.
Cancer runs in the family:
If someone in your family has been diagnosed with ovarian or breast cancer, the likelihood that you will also experience breast cancer at some point in your lifetime increases.
You’ve had breast cancer before:
If breast cancer has been detected in one of your breasts in the past, then your risk increases that it will also develop in your other breast.
Ways to Reduce Risk
While you do not have control over the above factors, there are ways you can reduce your vulnerability to the disease:
Live an Active Lifestyle:
Engage routinely in exercise! Lack of physical activity can make you more susceptible to breast cancer.
Develop Healthy Eating Habits:
Avoid saturated fats and make sure you are eating plenty of fruits or vegetables. A poor diet can lower your immunity to breast
Maintain a Healthy Weight:
Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of breast cancer. Eat healthily and exercise regularly to obtain and maintain a healthy weight.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption:
Frequent consumption of alcohol can increase your risk of breast cancer. Keep it to a minimum. The more regularly you consume alcohol, the more you are putting yourself at risk.
Have questions? Or maybe you want to schedule a screening? Contact us today!