October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

A smiling senior woman holds a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness month.

Every October, we celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month to spread the word about the disease and the importance of getting regular mammograms and breast cancer screenings. According to the Centers for Disease Control, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among American women, besides skin cancer. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point. Less than 1% of breast cancers occur in men.

Mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. The goal of breast cancer awareness month is to inform as many people as possible about the disease, hopefully leading to more screenings, improved treatment methods and more research to find a cure.

What are the Risk Factors of Breast Cancer?

There are several main factors that can influence your risk of breast cancer. However, having a risk factor does not mean that you will develop breast cancer. Some women with breast cancer have no risk factors or any family history of the disease. If you have any of the following breast cancer risk factors, it’s best to speak with your doctor about scheduling a breast cancer screening and determine ways to lower your risk:

  1. Age – Most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50.
  2. Genetics – Women who have inherited certain mutations to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene are at a higher risk of both breast and ovarian cancer.
  3. Family history – Having a first degree relative (mother, sister or daughter) who have had breast cancer, or having multiple family members on either side of the family with the disease increases the risk.
  4. Inactivity – Women who are not physically active have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  5. Alcohol use – Research has shown that the more alcohol a woman drinks, the higher her risk for breast cancer.

Early Breast Cancer Symptoms

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 breast tissue. There are several symptoms of breast cancer, but some people have no symptoms at all.

Here are some 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 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. For more information about cancer, check out our post, “What is Cancer, Anyway?

Live a Healthy Life at Advent Christian Village

At Advent Christian Village, we offer the opportunity to make healthier lifestyle choices to help decrease your risk of cancer and other illnesses. Members enjoy the chance to indulge in healthy meals every day at our dining venues or participate in a variety of health and fitness programs at Copeland Community Center. Contact us today to learn more about the vibrant lifestyle offered at our senior living community in north Florida.

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