Know the facts and resources on breast cancer
Many of us know a mother, a daughter, a relative or a friend diagnosed with breast cancer. You saw the tears, witnessed the fear and hoped to yourself it never would happen to you. It is a cancer that frightens many because years ago, being diagnosed with breast cancer meant certain death. Today, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent if the breast cancer is caught before it spreads. Sadly, many women are not aware of the risk factors for breast cancer and the need for early detection.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month various hospitals and organizations will be promoting breast health issues. Pike Community Hospital is joining other health-care providers in this endeavor
Many women think they are not at high-risk for breast cancer if they have no family history. The reality is all women are at risk for and susceptible to developing breast cancer, although having several risk factors does not mean you will get the disease. Some women who have one or more risk factors never get breast cancer, and others with no risk factors will develop the disease. Your healthcare provider can help you understand your personal risk factors and discuss ways you can lower that risk.
So, how can you fight breast cancer? The best chance of fighting the disease is to establish a breast health regimen that focuses on breast awareness, regular screenings to ensure early diagnosis and lowering your risk factors for developing breast cancer.
Breast awareness begins with becoming familiar with your breasts and what they look and feel like normally. Beginning in your 20s, women should consider performing a monthly breast-self exam. If you are unsure about how to perform a breast-self exam, your health-care provider can show you. Complete the exam on the same day each month, preferably a week after the start of your menstrual cycle. If you do not menstruate, conduct the self-exam on the same day each month. Be sure to give yourself a visual and physical exam, from several angles.