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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Courtesy article | | October 23, 2013


Editor’s note:  The below information has been gathered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, which may be found at www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/BreastCancerAwareness/.

October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and medical professionals recommend the best way to find breast cancer early is with a mammogram.

Those women, who are 50 years or older, should be sure to have a screening mammogram every two years.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
When breast cancer starts out, it is too small to feel and does not cause signs and symptoms. As it grows, breast cancer can cause changes in how the breast looks or feels. Symptoms may include:
 *  new lump in the breast or underarm (armpit)
 *  thickening or swelling of part of the breast
 *  irritation or dimpling of breast skin
 *  redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
 *  pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
 *  nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
 *  any change in the size or the shape of the breast
 *  pain in any area of the breast.

What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer. Having mammograms regularly can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. Individuals, who are 40 to 49 years old, should talk to their doctors about when and how often they should have screening mammograms.

Why should an individual have a mammogram?
Regular mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt. When their breast cancer is found early, many women go on to live long and healthy lives.

Where can individuals go to get screened?
Individuals can get screened for breast cancer at a clinic, hospital or doctor’s office. If a person wants to be screened for breast cancer, he or she can call the doctor’s office. Most health insurance companies pay for the cost of breast cancer screening tests.

Are individuals worried about the cost?
CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offers free or low-cost mammograms. Individuals can find out if they qualify.

How can individuals lower their risk of breast cancer?
Individuals should control their weight and implement exercise into their routines. Know your family history of breast cancer. If a person has a parent, sibling, son or daughter with breast cancer, ask the doctor about the risk of getting breast cancer and how someone can lower his or her risk. Find out the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy. Limit alcohol consumption.

Can men get breast cancer?
Men can also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. For every 100 cases of breast cancer, less than 1 percent is in men.