October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Not including skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes. With staggering statistics such as these, a message needed to be broadcasted to bring widespread attention. So, just about four decades ago “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” was created and has since captured national attention and support from individuals, corporations, businesses, and even the NFL.
According to the National Breast Cancer Organization, “women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer.” Of course, being a woman is the biggest risk factor, but a small percentage of men can get it too. Age is another risk that increases as one gets older. But family history is a major factor that increases risk which cannot be avoided. However, making lifestyle choices within one’s control (maintaining a well-balanced diet /exercise/avoiding cigarettes and alcohol) can significantly decrease the risks of the life-threatening disease.
The Symptoms & Signs
Breast Cancer Awareness Month promotes self-care by reminding and stressing the importance of monthly breast exams. These exams should include looking for changes within and surrounding the breast. Common breast cancer signs and/or symptoms include:
- A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit (sometimes lumps can be felt but not visible)
- A change in the color of the breast (redness or inflammation)
- A change in the skin around the breast (scaliness, puckering, or dimpling)
- A change to the nipple (this can be the color or it may be inverted)
- A rough crust or rash around the nipple
- A discharge from the nipple.
If anything seems different even in the slightest, it is recommended to immediately schedule an appointment with your trusted physician. Treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and radiation vary based on the type of breast cancer one is diagnosed with.
Currently, the only cure to prevent breast cancer is awareness. North Florida Perinatal Associates will be happy to educate and guide you through the process including how to do a self-exam. It is highly encouraged that every female makes an appointment for an annual mammogram. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. One out of every eight women will get breast cancer and early detection is prevention. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better chance for successful treatment.
North Florida Perinatal Associates are here to make your healthcare journey simple and bring further awareness to the community. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.