October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is a great reminder for women to schedule a woman’s exam and health screening. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women. Depending on the stage of breast cancer you have, treatment will vary from chemotherapy to radiation to surgery. However, preventing breast cancer should be a top priority for each woman, which can be done by avoiding alcohol, being physically active and controlling your weight. Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month by protecting your body with these tips!
Facts About Breast Cancer
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this initiative seeks to educate and inform women of how breast cancer develops, the signs and symptoms and what you can do to prevent it. Breast cancer is a chronic disease in women that develops quickly and silently, often showing no symptoms until in its later stages. While breast cancer can develop in men, as well, women are much more likely to experience it. In fact, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during some point in their lives, and an estimated 41,760 women will succumb to the disease this year alone. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States behind skin cancer, but luckily, 62% of women are diagnosed at a localized state which has a nearly 100% survival rate. However, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, but death rates are continuing to decline as awareness efforts and health screenings have become more popular.
Breast cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the breast tissue. Many times, cancer symptoms are unannounced or very small, making it hard to detect without the proper evaluation of a medical provider. Common signs of breast cancer include lumps in the breast, nipple tenderness, lumps or thickening in the underarm area and a change in the skin texture of the breast (similar to that of an orange peel). Any changes in the breast, such as swelling, redness, dimpling and nipple discharge, also point to breast cancer and should be evaluated immediately. Some of these signs can develop in your body without being caused by cancer, but any abnormal changes should be reported to your doctor so a thorough examination can be performed.
What To Do To Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer
Unfortunately, most cases of breast cancer have no direct cause or reason for its development. While it’s well known that breast cancer develops when damage occurs to a cell’s DNA, most women who experience breast cancer have no prior history or risk factors that influenced its development. Many women do have a family history of breast cancer that increases their likelihood of developing it, but in other women it just occurs. While you can’t control hereditary influences, you can avoid certain risk factors in your diet and lifestyle that will reduce your chances of contracting this disease. Try implementing some of the following tips into your day-to-day routine:
- Avoid alcohol
- Be physically active
- Don’t smoke
- Limit hormone therapy
- Avoid radiation exposure
Alcohol should be consumed only in a limited amount since it has been connected with breast cancer. Women should drink no more than one alcoholic beverage per day or less, is possible. Being physically active will help you control your weight and avoid obesity, which increases your likelihood of breast cancer, especially after menopause. Smoking should be avoided at all cost as research has shown that cigarette/tobacco use increases breast cancer in women, specifically younger women. If you are receiving hormone therapy to treat menopausal symptoms, limit the duration of treatment to less than three years. Hormone therapy for extended periods of time has been linked to breast cancer and should be eliminated if other non-hormonal treatments are available. Lastly, excessive radiation exposure can cause cancer in most areas of the body, including the breasts. While an MRI, X-ray and CT scan are okay every once in a while, try to use these imaging systems only when necessary and seek to avoid radiation in all its forms as often as you can.
Protect Your Health With An Adult Health Screening
In the end, your health is what matters. Breast cancer affects hundreds of thousands of women each year, and as mentioned, more than 41,000 of those women will die from it. It’s essential that, as a woman, you have an adult health screening each year, whether you have symptoms or not. A health screening is a preventative measure used to diagnose any abnormalities or disease found within the body, and they are necessary to maintain optimal living standards. Health screenings are typically comprehensive and evaluate your cardiovascular, hormonal and genetic health, as well as test your body composition, vitamin levels and other inflammatory markers.
After meeting with their doctor, most women will have a mammogram (an X-ray of the breast) scheduled to correctly identify cancerous tissue. While mammograms emit radiation, it is such a small amount that the benefits of diagnosing your symptoms almost always outweigh the potential side effects of a mammogram.
Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month With Us!
At Balanced Well-Being Healthcare, we care about your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, and we want to make sure that you are healthy in all aspects of your life. If you’re due for your annual adult health screening, call our office today at (970) 631-8286 to schedule an appointment. Protect your health during Breast Cancer Awareness Month by scheduling your next health screening today!