Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness MonthOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness month and although great strides have been made, breast cancer continues to be the second leading cause of cancer death for females – following lung cancer. Although men can develop breast cancer, it is about 100 times more common in women then in men. The good news is that breast cancer is treatable. Of vital importance not only for breast cancer but for all cancer – is early detection – which greatly increases the opportunities for treatment.

For early detection the American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines:

  • Annual mammograms for women over age 40.
  • Clinical breast exam (CBE) by a health expert every three years for women in their 20’s and 30’s; annually after age 40.
  • Monthly breast self-exam (BSE). Women who know how their breasts normally feel and look can more easily notice any changes.

Women with a family history or who are at a higher risk for breast cancer should consult their physician about the best course of action for them. They may need to have more frequent exams, start having mammograms at an earlier age or have extra tests such as a breast ultrasound or MRI.

The most important thing is to see your physician immediately if you notice any of these breast changes: a lump or swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple pain or the nipple turning inward, redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin, or a discharge other than breast milk. Keep in mind that most of the time breast changes are not cancerous.

Whether you are male or female – develop an awareness of your body – pay attention to any twinges or unusual sensations or pain and if they continue – see your physician. For more information visit Cancer.org.