Breast Cancer Awareness Month: This story might save your life
By Amy Bentley
The nationwide Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign is more than two decades old, but information related to it is as valuable today as ever.
The campaign is all about symptoms, prevention, treatment and recovery from breast cancer, with a pink ribbon as its symbol and a host of events nationwide to raise awareness about the disease.
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of the disease among women in the United States. It’s also the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women overall and the leading cause of cancer deaths among Hispanic women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Each year in the U.S., about 220,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,000 cases are diagnosed in men; the disease kills about 40,000 women and 400 men annually in the U.S., the CDC says.
Dr. Afshin Rashtian, a radiation oncologist at Riverside Community Hospital, recently outlined what to look for and risk factors pertaining to breast cancer: Signs include nipple retraction, discoloration, or a mass or lump
in the breast.
Many people do not have obvious symptoms and their breast cancer is discovered via mammogram, making the procedure a critical tool for early detection.
Women should have a mammo-gram at age 40 as a baseline, then annually between ages 40 and 50, or at least every other year. After age 50, mammograms should be done annually.
Risk factors include a family history of breast cancer. “If your mom had it, screening should happen 10 years younger than the age your mom was diagnosed,” said Dr. Rashtian, adding that smoking, alcohol use and obesity “have a negative impact on risk factors also for breast cancer.”
“If you feel a lump or mass, go to your doctor, and they should be ordering the appropriate tests, a mammogram and usually […]