Sunday, October 17, 2010
BREAST CANCER-YOU NEED TO KNOW
October has arrived and in the Northeast there has been a chill in the air and much anticipation of the beautiful fall foliage that I often refer to as God's Finger-painting...but there is a more serious side of October...it is the month for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Despite years of pins, ribbons, hat and other awareness items, according to the CDC breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among Hispanic women and second in African American, White, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
An Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young (women under 40) has been established that will assist the CDC in developing approaches to advance the awareness of breast cancer among young women through prevention research, public and professional education and awareness activities.
Today, still the best way to first notice an abnormality of your breast is through self-examination and knowing what changes to look for. You can download the pamphlet Understanding Breast Changes: A Guide for Women. Recently there has been controversy over when women should begin to have mammograms, which is the best test to detect breast cancer. I recommend women speaking with their health care practitioner to determine their individual risk and what he/she advises. A recent frightening CDC statistic is that more than 7 million women have not had a recent screenings and that one of five women between the ages of 50-74 has never had a mammogram. For women in that age group they should at least have one every two years or whatever their history and practitioner deems appropriate.
There are lifestyle changes that lower your risk for developing breast cancer which are regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and minimize your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day.
It is important to note that men can also develop breast cancer and should also be aware of the need to also examine their chest, pectoral muscle area, nipples, and underarms. If there is any discharge from the nipple he should bring this to the attention of his practitioner for further examination. Also men want to observe for any visual changes like discoloration, puckers, or patches.
There is no reason for women not to have mammograms. If cost is a concern The National Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection Programs offers free or low-cost mammograms. To find a program local to your area visit NBCCEDP
So as God blesses you with His “finger painting” masterpiece of the season...hit the email button and be a blessing...share with a friend and use the Health Care E-Card to send mammogram reminders.