Take a moment to educate yourself about breast cancer this October during Breast Cancer Awareness month. 1 in 8 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and it’s estimated over 40,000 will die from it this year. However, this issue doesn’t impact women alone. Although rare, men can develop breast cancer. The best solution is to be informed, aware, and to get screened often (men too!) – especially if it runs in your family.
Some common risk factors such as gender, race or ethnicity, age, and family history of breast cancer may not be in your control. However, others may be things you can change. Understanding the facts surrounding actionable and non-actionable risk factors can help you lower your risk.
Other risk factors for breast cancer:
- Previous chest radiation
- Benign breast disease
- Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS) growth
- DES (Diethylstilbesterol) exposure
- Early menstrual periods
- Late menopause
- Non-child birth or first child birth after 30
- Dense breast tissue
- Long-term estrogen and progestin medicine use, post-menopause
- Excess weight, post-menopause
Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. You should know what’s normal on your body – and what’s not. Any changes in the skin, color, size, or possible lumps are worth getting checked out. Moreover, get to know your family history and if any close family members have had breast cancer. Being aware of your risk level is the first step in early detection. Most importantly, don’t skip on your yearly physicals! Your Primary Care Physician may be able to recognize any changes you may have overlooked. For more information regarding breast cancer, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation website.