The American Cancer Association states that breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women and is the most common cancer found in American women besides other skin cancers. 1 in 8 U.S. women will be diagnosed with this cancer throughout their lifetime. “Pink October” (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month) is a time to focus on the this disease and it’s effects.
Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel is an important part of keeping up with your health. Finding breast cancer as early as possible gives you a better chance for successful treatment, regularly scheduled mammograms and other screening test are equally important. These can help detect the cancer before you ever start showing or seeing signs and symptoms. The most common symptom of breast cancer is a newly detected lump or mass. Sometimes breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling there too and these should be reported to your physician. Other symptoms can include: pain, skin irritation or dimpling (nipple turning inward), swelling of the entire breast or part of it, redness, and nipple discharge-other than breast milk.
Women with a personal history of breast cancer or family history of breast cancer are at a higher risk. Also, any women who may have had radiation therapy to the chest before the age of 30 are at higher risk for breast cancer. Ages 45 to 54 should have annual mammogram screenings and women 55 and older can do this every 2 years. Every woman should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to their health care provider right away. The American Cancer Society encourages women to lead a conscious healthy lifestyle – eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and reducing alcohol use, all of these choices can help reduce breast cancer risk.
Whether you yourself are a breast cancer survivor or one of your friends or loved ones has been diagnosed with breast cancer, your life has likely been affected by this common disease. In honor of “Pink Week” you can join the progress we are making together to save lives and put an end to breast cancer by participating in a Las Vegas Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on October 30th. Click on the link below for more information or to register.