In October, you will notice a pink ribbon sign, which means breast cancer awareness. It is an information drive about breast cancer. Based on the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. There are 276,480 new cases of breast cancer in women in the U.S in 2020. An average of 1 in 8 women in the U.S develops breast cancer.
In 2019 according to ACS, there is almost 41,760 women died from breast cancer. However, from Fox Chase Cancer Center, Dr. Catherine Tuite said that early diagnosis could experience better outcomes. The worst case of cancer is metastatic breast cancer or stage IV cancer. A cure is impossible, and base on the study, only 22% can survive from this stage of cancer.
1. Become Aware of the Signs and Symptoms
Breast cancer awareness gives the right knowledge and understanding of the signs and symptoms. Therefore, a woman should be observant if her breast looks and feel normal. If you notice some changes in your breast, don’t hesitate to see a doctor right away. Furthermore, women need to have regular clinical exams and mammograms. If you are not familiar with mammograms, it is an X-ray for the breast to check early breast cancer signs.
Some signs of breast cancer that you need to remember are a lump in the breast or underarm. In addition, some experience swelling or thickening of breast parts, dimpling, and skin irritation. It would also help if you looked for breast pain and nipple discharge other than breast milk. Also, scaliness, redness, thickening of the nipple, and any change in the breast’s size or shape are common symptoms.
2. Know the Risk Factor
Knowing the risk factor during breast cancer awareness month is helpful for women. Age is a risk factor for having breast cancer. Mostly, ages 55 and older develop breast cancer. However, there are many uncontrollable factors that you may also consider. For instance, family history, breast density, race, and menstrual period history are some. Aside from that, your daily lifestyle can make you at risk of breast cancer.
Moreover, lifestyle-related factors, hormone therapy, birth control pills, and having too many children are risks. Consequently, drinking alcohol, being overweight and obese, and not being physically active are contributing factors.
There are many ways to prevent breast cancer. One is having a normal weight can decrease the risk of breast cancer. Hence, it is important to balance your food intake with physical activity to maintain your weight. You should watch the foods that you eat because many foods have cancerous ingredients.
It would help if you were physically active. Therefore, you should have at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of heavy activity within the week. Avoiding alcohol can avoid breast cancer, as it contains an ingredient that can cause cancer cells. According to ACS, women must avoid drinking alcohol every day.
3. Breast Cancer Exam
Mammograms are one of the devices for breast cancer exams. There are guidelines from the American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging. Women ages 30 to 40 should have a risk assessment. The test for women with breast cancer cases before includes MRI. This test can detect breast cancer for women younger than 50.
Moreover, three tests can diagnose if you have breast cancer. First is the mammograms, it is an X-ray exam for the breast to determine if there are some breast changes. Second is the breast ultrasound that usually comes with the mammography for high-risk women that cannot undergo MRI. The third is the Magnetic Resonance Imaging for high-risk women to know information about a suspicious area.