It’s Pink month!
As most people know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I decided I better get my 2 cents in before November gets here. I think it’s safe to say that most everyone knows someone whose life has been affected by breast cancer. Not counting skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women of all combined major racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Among Hispanic women, it is the most common cause of death from cancer, and it is the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native women. In 2006, 191, 410 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40, 820 women died from the disease. Although more white women get breast cancer, more black women die from it.
There are several factors that may raise a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer. These include
- Getting older
- Not having children, or having your first child later in life
- Starting your first menstrual period at an early age
- Beginning menopause at a late age
- Having a personal history of breast cancer or certain benign breast diseases, such as atypical ductal hyperplasia
- Having close family relatives who have had breast cancer
- Having a genetic condition, such as certain mutations in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
- Having been treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest
- Being overweight, particularly after menopause
- Using hormone replacement therapy for a long time
- Using oral contraceptives
- Drinking alcohol
- Being physically inactive
What are symptoms?
- A new lump in the breast
- A lump that has changed
- A change in the shape or size of the breast
- Pain in the breast or nipple that does not go away
- Flaky, red, or swollen skin anywhere on the breast
- A nipple that is very tender or that suddenly turns inward
- Blood or any other type of fluid coming from the nipple that is not milk when nursing a baby
If you have any of these symptoms you should talk to a health care professional.
A few things you can do to help prevent breast cancer include stay physically active by getting plenty of exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, avoid using hormone replacement therapy (HRT),and limit the amount of alcohol you drink.