October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by Posted on: September 29, 2015Categories: LiveWell 24/7   

The month of October is dedicated to increasing awareness of the second leading cause of cancer death among women. While breast cancer is predicted to take over 40,000 lives in 2015, there are approximately 2.8 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States today due to early detection, improved treatment, and preventative behavior.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is caused by uncontrollable growth of malignant cancer cells that form a tumor in the breast tissue. These malignant cells grow, reproduce, and invade other tissues.

What are the risk factors?

Factors that can contribute to developing breast cancer include gender, age, family history, race, and lifestyle choices. Women with breast cancer in their family are more likely to develop breast cancer, especially if they are 55 or older. Behaviors that can contribute to breast cancer risk include physical inactivity, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and use of hormone therapy or oral contraceptives. To learn more about the extent to which these behaviors and biological factors influence your risk of developing breast cancer, visit the ACS website.

How often should I have a breast examination?

The American Cancer Society recommends that women in their 20s and 30s get clinical breast examinations at least once every three years and all women older than 40 have yearly mammograms. In addition to these physician-administered exams, women should preform self-examinations to monitor any changes in their breasts.

What if I feel a lump?

While breast tissue naturally feels slightly uneven and lumpy, if you feel a lump or hard knot that appears to be growing or abnormal, it is important to contact your physician to schedule a mammogram or ultrasound. It is very common to experience non-cancerous breast conditions, such as fibroadenomas or cysts, and while these conditions are not life-threatening, they could increase your risk of developing breast cancer.

How can early detection help me?

When breast cancer is discovered during a screening, it is more likely to be smaller and more confined as opposed to waiting until symptoms develop. Thousands of lives are saved annually due to the early detection of breast cancer, so schedule your mammogram or CBE today. If you would like to help in the fight against breast cancer, please visit the American Cancer Society’s website to donate or volunteer!

Sources: American Cancer SocietyAlliance Women’s Health

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