October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer affects 1 in 8 women in their lifetime. It is not limited to women, however, as men can also develop cancer of the breast. Understanding the risks and the importance of early prevention can increase the survival rate of this common cancer.
Cancer is a disease caused by abnormal (malignant) cells that grow and attack the surrounding healthy cells. Breast cancer originates in the breast tissue, but it can invade and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
What Causes Breast Cancer?
Cells, the basic building blocks of our body, are designed to grow and replicate themselves using the blueprint of our DNA. Sometimes, the DNA becomes damaged and defective cells are produced. These damaged cells build up and create a lump – called a tumor.
Most risk factors cannot be avoided – such as a family history. Others, such as drinking alcohol, can be avoided. Not everyone with a risk factor will develop cancer, and some with no known factors will. Many survivors never know the exact cause of their cancer.
The Importance of Early Detection
According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is detected in its early stages, the 5-year survival rate is 99%. Thus, early detection is the best weapon we have!
Performing monthly self-breast exams and getting regular mammograms increases the chances of catching cancer in its early, treatable stages.
Know the Signs
When you perform monthly exams, you will be more likely to notice changes in your breast tissue. If you discover any of these changes, consult a healthcare professional immediately:
- Nipple tenderness
- Lump in the breast or underarm area
- Change in skin texture or pore enlargement (skin looks like orange peel)
- Unexplained change in the size or shape of breast
- Dimpling anywhere
- Unexplained swelling or shrinking of the breast (especially if only on one side)
- Nipple turned inward or inverted
- Scaley, red or pitted skin on the breast, areola or nipple
- Nipple discharge
- Pain or tenderness in the breast or underarm.
Reduce Your Risk
There is no way to eliminate completely the chance of developing breast cancer, but there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a low-fat diet high in fruits and vegetables
- Avoid smoking or alcohol consumption
- Avoid synthetic hormones
Make October Count
So, how can you make Breast Cancer Awareness Month Count?
- Familiarize yourself with the signs and risk factors.
- Look for ways to reduce your risk
- Perform monthly self-exams and get a regular mammogram
- Encourage your friends and family members to perform regular exams
- Offer support to cancer survivors
Learn More About Breast Cancer
A Special Place is committed to raising awareness of breast cancer, promoting early detection and offering support and understanding to those affected by cancer. If you would like more information, reach out to us at aspecialplacewigs.com. Follow us on facebook or Instagram and check out our blog for more timely information.
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