Breast Cancer Awareness…Be Informed, Be Better.
While October is breast cancer awareness month, for women of all ages, breast cancer awareness should happen every day. Why? Because cancers and particularly breast cancer in women is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
The statistics speak for themselves: in 2017 the cancer rate for all types of cancer reported in the US was 1.7 million, that means that for every 100,000 people 438 of them were diagnosed with some type of cancer. Within that 1.7 million the leading type of cancer was breast cancer in women, occurring at a rate of 125 cases for every 100,000 women. We really need to embrace that bit of information - of the reported cases for ALL types of cancer in the US, breast cancer in women amounted to one quarter of that count. That’s a lot. A worrying trend for health care providers and researchers to follow. Creating a regular and systematic means of sharing information about breast health has become a crucial means of addressing the issue.
Early detection is the key…
Making sure that we understand what to look for and how to get to the information and resources we need, is the single most important step in preventing and fighting this terrible disease. It starts by creating a common understanding of what breast health is. Early detection is the next most important factor, regular mammogram and/or ultrasound exams have improved survival rates dramatically. This is why after a certain age or with a familial history, it is recommended that mammograms become a regular part of a woman’s health care routine. For any woman who has had one, you know it’s no walk in the park, but living with breast cancer is harder. If you are instructed to have a mammogram done, don’t procrastinate. Early detection is the key to survival.
No need to wait, starting checking yourself today…it’s easy!
There’s no need to wait for your next doctor appointment or a recommendation for a mammogram. Be sure to examine your own breasts regularly. When you know what normal looks and feels like to you, this quick process will help you identify when things are not normal and when you should ask your doctor for more information and a check-up.
Not sure how to start? This link will take you to information on how to perform your own breast exam. Doing this at least once per month in the comfort of your shower, or while you are getting dressed is fast and easy.
Keep your doctor in the loop…
If you have a family history of breast cancer it is vital that you share this information with your doctor. There are specific genetic markers that clinicians can look for to gauge your risk and/or determine what the best treatments are for each situation. Don’t leave out the details. Maybe it was your aunt or your husband’s aunt, and you think it’s too far removed to be relevant – TELL YOUR DOCTOR – it’s all relevant, to your breast health and that of your daughters.
If you or someone you love is dealing with breast cancer, make sure you understand the difference between what are facts and what are myths. Of course, you can ask your ClareMedica provider for reputable and accurate information and these link below will get you started.
BreastCancer.org – Myths and Facts
Centers for Disease Control – Breast Cancer Information
Finally, if you are living with breast cancer or are a survivor, COVID-19 will have a very real impact on every aspect of your life. Cancer itself is isolating and can make a person feel like they are alone in the world; compound this with isolation caused by the pandemic and it certainly makes it harder for loved ones to be with you when you need their love and support. Don’t ignore your mental health - stay in touch online or over the phone. If you attend a family get together, observe physical distancing, proper hand washing, and always wear a mask. Make sure your loved ones understand the risk that COVID exposure presents to you before you agree to attend a family event The temporary inconvenience could actually be life-saving for them and for you. It’s a small effort that goes a long way.
Stay healthy, stay safe, and always wash your hands.
Yours in health, Mare.
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