October - Thinking Pink During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 1, 2014 by Molly Huff

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in the spirit of providing our patients and readers with helpful, healthful information, Affinity would like to give you with some facts about breast cancer and its prevention, diagnosis, treatments - and how you can get involved.  Affinity Physicians for Women is a great place to start with having your annual breast cancer exam and mammogram.  Click here to make your appointment.  

It is estimated that there will be over 200,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in 2014 and over 39,000 deaths from the disease. In light of these dim statistics, though, there are so many ways to educate yourself in prevention and treatment. Knowledge is certainly power in this case, and here are a few things you should know:

Understanding Risk and Prevention

• Know your risk – learn about your family history and talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer.

• Get screened – Ask your health care provider what screening tests make sense for you. Typically, the guidelines include a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40; and, mammograms are generally recommended every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk.

• Know what is normal for you, and see your health care provider if you notice any of these changes:

• Lump, hard knot or thickening

• Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening

• Change in the size of shape of the breast

• Dimpling or puckering of the skin
• Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple

• Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast

• Nipple discharge that starts suddenly

• New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

• Make healthy lifestyle choices:

• Maintain a healthy weight

• Add exercise into your routine

• Limit alcohol intake

If, indeed, you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you should know that over the past 20 years, great strides have been made in the treatment of this disease. In fact, the number of breast cancer survivors continues to rise and there are about 2.5 million survivors in the U.S. today.

Some treatments for breast cancer include:

• Surgery

• Radiation therapy

• Chemotherapy

• Chemotherapy drugs

• Hormone therapies

• Targeted therapies

• Neoadjuvant (preoperative) therapies

• Emerging therapies

There are also many ways to support the fight against breast cancer. In addition to national organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society, many local organizations have information, support groups and events; check online, with your health care provider or phone book.

Learn more about breast cancer and what you can do to prevent, treat and support the fight against this disease here.