“About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12.4%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer,” according to research from BreastCancer.Org. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. How much do you know about the disease and what are you doing to prevent it?
Breast Cancer – What is It?
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. Once diagnosed, healthcare professionals first determine which stage of the disease you have and then recommend treatment.
There are several different types of breast cancer including: ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive ductal carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer, and metastatic breast cancer.
Early Detection is Key for Fighting Breast Cancer
“When breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 100%,” reports NationalBreastCancer.org. Success with early detection requires monthly breast self-exams, committing to an annual clinical breast exams and mammograms (at a frequency determined by you and your doctor).
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force mammogram guidelines recommend women begin screening at age 50 and the American Cancer Society recommends women begin screening at age 45. But both of these organizations acknowledge that beginning screening at 40 may be necessary for some women after weighing the pros and cons of the test, according to the Mayo Clinic. Their research also shows that mammograms in women ages 40-50 reduce breast cancer deaths by 15 to 29 percent.
Mammogram is just one way that breast cancer is diagnosed. It is also confirmed with ultrasound, MRI and biopsy.
Know the Symptoms
Many of the symptoms of breast cancer are invisible and not noticeable without a professional screening like a mammogram or ultrasound. But some symptoms can be caught early just by looking out for certain changes in your breasts and being proactive about your breast health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Development list the following as common symptoms of breast cancer:
- New lump* in the breast or underarm (armpit).
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
*Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer, but any lumps or changes in your breasts should be evaluated by a doctor.
Most Women with Breast Cancer Have no Family History
Only 10 percent of women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease. Women (and men) need to take a proactive role to prevent and diagnosis breast cancer. There is a breast cancer gene that can contribute to familial history of the disease, but regardless, don’t take any chances with the disease. Do your part.
Preventing Breast Cancer
“Breast cancer prevention starts with healthy habits — such as limiting alcohol and staying physically active. Understand what you can do to reduce your breast cancer risk,” says the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic also recommends you do the following to help prevent breast cancer:
- Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution.
- Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy.
- Be physically active.
- Control your weight.
- Don’t smoke.
- Limit alcohol.
Adult Health Screening – How Healthy Are You?
Establishing healthy habits starts with finding your baseline. How healthy are you right now? How is your daily nutrition? Are you exercising regularly? Do you have a healthy body mass index/weight? All of these factors can contribute to your risk for breast cancer.
At Balanced Well-Being Healthcare, we have screened over 1,000 patients in the past four years. More than 75% had suboptimal Vitamin D levels, 75% had blood sugar imbalance, 50% had B vitamin deficiencies, and 50% had increased risk of heart disease. We found 5% with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. We found 5% with autoimmune thyroid disease. The scary thing is that most of these patients had no symptoms. Schedule a adult health screening today and protect yourself from disease and dysfunction. Call us at 970-631-8286 today!