October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the number two cause of cancer death and the most common cancer in women. Our Health Ministries department would like to share some important information about this deadly cancer with our church and community.
Breast cancer Trivia: Did you know that the LEFT breast is the breast most frequently affected in breast cancer? The reason for this is not yet understood.
Q: What is the biggest risk factor for the development of breast cancer?
A: Age. As we grow older, the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases.
Q: What are other risk factors for getting breast cancer?
A: There are several contributing factors to the development of breast cancer. These include:
- Genetics: inheriting changes in certain genes
- A personal history of breast cancer, or having a family member with breast cancer
- Having dense breasts
- Experiencing menstruation early (before age 12)
- Experiencing menopause late (after age 55)
- Having your first child after age 30 years old
- Nulliparity (having never been pregnant)
- A history of radiation to the chest (for example, as a treatment for lymphoma)
- Oral contraceptive use or hormone replacement therapy
- Alcohol intake of 2 or more drinks per day
- Obesity, especially after menopause
- A high fat diet
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends screening starting at age 40 years old for women of average risk*. Both you and your doctor play an important role in breast cancer screening.
- Breast awareness: Report any changes to your breasts promptly to your health care provider. Breast self-exams should be done periodically as it increases your own breast awareness. For pre-menopausal women that should be at the end of your menstrual period.
- Clinical breast exam: At your annual office visit, your primary care physician should perform a breast exam.
- Screening Mammography: Should be performed each year starting at age 40.
* Talk with your doctor to determine if you are at increased-risk of breast cancer, as the screening recommendations will be different for you.
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 2
[Disclaimer: Medicine is an ever-changing discipline. Every effort is made to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information. You must discuss with your doctor how this information pertains to or affects you. Do not make changes to your medications or treatment plan without first discussing with your doctor. ]