October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Although most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to create a plan to detect the disease in its early stages. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, take some time to learn more about the disease.
Understand the Symptoms:
These are the most common symptoms:
- Nipple tenderness
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area.
- A change in the skin’s texture or an enlargement of pores on the breast (sometimes described as similar to the texture of an orange peel)
- A noticeable lump directly on the breast
Understand the Risk Factors:
Learn more about the following factors that may increase your risk for developing breast cancer:
- Sex: One in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. In contrast, men only make up 1% of diagnosed cases.
- Age: Your risk for breast cancer typically increases as you get older.
- Family History: Less than 15% of women diagnosed have a family member who was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, a woman’s risk for breast cancer is nearly doubled if she has a first-degree relative (i.e., a mother, sister or daughter) who has been diagnosed.
- Genetics: Women with a BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, and women with a BRCA2 mutation have a 69% lifetime risk.
What can you do?
There is no way to fully prevent breast cancer, but there are steps you can take to possibly lower your risk:
- Limit alcohol
- Don’t smoke
- Get regular mammograms and general health screenings.
- Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Be physically active.
- Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution.
- If you have questions or concerns about breast cancer, reach out to your doctor.