October marks a worldwide campaign dedicated to the awareness of breast cancer. Multiple organizations highlight the importance of education and research for breast cancer, as well as what to look for in an effort to increase early detection. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of beating it.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, INC states that breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women and that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. They also note that there has been a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older.
Part of the reason breast cancer numbers have been declining the past 30 years is due to early detection and increased awareness. You can help aide in early detection by doing self exams, like TLC.
The TLC’s of Breast Cancer
Lumps and pain in your breasts is not healthy and may signal signs of potential breast cancer. An easy thing to remember when checking your body? Keep it simple with TLC: Touch, Look, Check.
- Touch: Does anything feel different or unusual? It’s important to note that lumps may not be seen, but they may be felt physically.
- Look: Does anything look different in size and shape of the breasts? Things to look for: size, shape, texture, coloration, discharge, rash, etc.
Check: If you have noticed any change, check with your provider right away.
You should do self exams once every month as part of your personal health care routine. If you notice any changes, consult your provider right away. If you're over 40 or at a high risk of breast cancer, you should also have an annual mammogram and physical exam by your provider.
What To Do to Lower Your Risk
Aside from genetics and getting older, there are some risk factors that you might be able to control. Below, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do to help improve your health and keep your risk for breast cancer low.
- Maintain a healthy weight range: Being overweight or obese can increase your chances of breast cancer.
- Regularly exercise: Most adults should aim for at least two to three hours of exercise a week to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Reduce alcohol consumption: Even small amounts of alcohol can increase the risk of breast cancer. Try limiting your consumption to less than one drink a day.
- Reduce tobacco consumption: Smoking is linked to breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women and can also increase complications from breast cancer treatment.
Ask your provider about your risk for breast cancer and what you need to do to maintain a lower risk. Consult your doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts when doing the TLC exam and ask when to begin mammograms and other screenings.
Consult with Metro OBGYN
If you find that you or a loved one is concerned about breast cancer, we are here for you. Schedule an appointment with one of our providers today to discuss your options.