Every year, it’s estimated that over 252,710 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,500 will die from it. Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,470 men will also be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 460 will die each year.
Awareness Saves Lives! October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and we’ve compiled a list of facts every woman should know, warning signs to watch out for, some groups that will help you realize you’re not in it alone, and ways you can make a difference. Let’s work together to become warriors who prevail in this important fight!
One Way To Answer The Question “What Is A ‘Normal’ Breast?”:
•No breast is typical. What’s normal for you may not be normal for another woman. Most women say their breasts feel lumpy or uneven. The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by getting your period, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Breasts also tend to change as you age. That being said, anytime something feels wrong, don’t wait – get it checked.
Nine Facts You Should Know:
• Women who started their periods before age 12, along with those who never had children after age 30, are more likely to develop breast cancer
• Breastfeeding has been found to lower the risk of breast cancer development
• Vitamin A, along with phytoestrogens found in soy and vitamins E and C, are all linked to fighting breast cancer
• One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, meaning by age 85
• Nearly 80 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease
• Avoid radiation; thermography is painless, non-invasive, and radiation-free
• Race plays a part: Caucasian and African American women have the highest breast cancer incidence overall, while American Indian/Alaska Native women have the lowest
• Certain types of hormonal birth control can increase your risk of breast cancer
• Eighty percent of breast lumps are not cancerous
Six Warning Signs You Should Pay A Visit To Your Health Care Provider If You Experience:
• Scaling of the skin on the breast or nipple
• Swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening of the breast
• Change in the size or shape of the breast
• Dimpling or puckering of the skin
• Pulling in of the nipple or other parts of the breast, or nipple discharge that starts suddenly
• A lump or hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
Three Ways To Remind You That You’re Not Alone:
• The American Cancer Society Helpline: (800) 227-2345. Offers 24/7 assistance with: emotional support groups; information through specialists; assistance with travel lodging related to treatment; and treatment transportation assistance in your area. They also host a special program for breast cancer patients called Reach to Recovery that offers one-on-one peer support via the web, phone, or in person.
• Susan G. Komen: (877) GO-KOMEN. Support helpline for anyone diagnosed with breast cancer.
• Contact a local cancer support group in your area that offers services for men and women. Attend meetups and church support groups near your home.
Four Ways You Can Reduce Your Risk:
• Get screened for breast cancer and perform self-exams often
• Get at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per day
• Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
• Avoid alcohol – but if you do drink, limit your intake
Five Ways You Can Make A Difference:
• Become a volunteer. Many organizations provide service and support groups, and they need your help.
• Donate to an organization that supports the cause.
• Assist with research. There are online initiatives that would appreciate your help enrolling women in online surveys and clinical studies.
• Donate your time to a friend, family member, or co-worker who’s struggling with a cancer diagnosis. A little love goes a long way.
• If you’re a survivor, consider becoming an advocate to spread awareness in your community. W