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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 17, 2019

Every October, we celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month to increase awareness of the disease’s symptoms and the need for regular mammograms, screenings and self-exams. Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among American women according to the Centers for Disease Control. More than 268,600 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

Did you know that regular mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early? That’s why early detection is important, because it is easier to treat breast cancer in the initial stages of the disease. The goal of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to spread the word to as many people as possible about the disease, with hopes that it will lead to more mammograms, new and improved treatment methods, and more funding and research to find a cure.

What are the Risk Factors of Breast Cancer?

Many risk factors can affect your risk of breast cancer. Some of these factors can be controlled, such as your fitness level, while other factors like your family history are not. However, even if you have one of the risk factors below, it does not mean that you will be diagnosed with breast cancer. If any of these factors are true for you, it’s recommended that you speak with your physician and schedule a breast cancer screening:

  1. Age – After age 50, your risk of breast cancer increases.
  2. Your genes – If you’ve inherited mutations to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene, your risk of both breast and ovarian cancer is higher.
  3. Family history – Having multiple family members on either side of the family with the disease increases your risk.
  4. Inactivity – Women who do not exercise have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  5. Drinking – Studies have shown that the more a woman drinks, the higher her risk for breast cancer.

What are Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

There are several symptoms of breast cancer, but some people have no symptoms at all. Thanks to the increase of breast cancer awareness campaigns, most women know to be on the lookout for any new lumps or masses in their breasts.
Here are some additional signs to look for:

  • Changes in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood).
  • A lump in the breast or underarm.
  • 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.

It is recommended that women of all ages perform breast self-exams at least once a month to look for any breast changes. If you notice any of the above symptoms, be sure to speak with your doctor right away. Early detection is the key to getting proper treatment and the support you need.

Live a Healthy Life at Episcopal SeniorLife Communities

At Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, we offer the opportunity to make healthier lifestyle choices to help decrease your risk of cancer and other illnesses. Residents enjoy the opportunity to eat healthy meals at our senior living communities or participate in our Neighborhood Programs that offer tailored balance program, nutrition education, strength training, informative presentations and other senior activities. The best thing about Neighborhood Programs is that they are open to all seniors who live nearby, not just ESLC residents. Schedule a visit today or contact us to learn more our vibrant retirement communities in Rochester.

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