October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Did you know that about 1 in 8 U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer?
Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt. When their breast cancer is found early, many women go on to live long and healthy lives.
Know how your breasts normally look and feel. If you notice a change in the size or shape of your breast, feel pain in your breast, have nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood), or other symptoms, talk to a doctor right away. Talk to your doctor if you have a higher risk. If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer or other risk factors, you should talk to your doctor about ways to manage your risk. If your risk is high, your doctor may suggest that you get genetic counseling and be tested for changes. Your doctor may also talk to you about getting mammograms earlier and more often than other women, whether other screening tests might be right for you, and medicines or surgeries that can lower your risk. To find out if you qualify for a free or low-cost mammogram and Pap test and where to get screened, call: 1 (800) 369-2229
Women should have mammograms every two years from age 50 to 74 years. Talk to your health professional if you have any symptoms or changes in your breast, or if breast cancer runs in your family. He or she may recommend that you have mammograms before age 50 or more often than usual. Tips for getting a mammogram— • Try not to schedule your mammogram around the time of your period. Your breasts may be tender then. • On the day of your mammogram, don’t wear deodorant, perfume, or powder. These products can show up as white spots on the X-ray. • Some women prefer to wear a top with a skirt or pants, instead of a dress. You will need to undress from your waist up for the mammogram. Visit this website to help find a mammogram facility near you. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfMQSA/mqsa.cfm
Lowering your Risk:
Exercise: The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 2.5 hrs/ week of moderate aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.
Drink less alcohol: limiting alcohol intake can reduce your risk. Know the signs and symptoms: be aware of what’s normal for you and alert your doctor about any changes.
Check yourself regularly: Create a prevention plan: talk with your doctor about how you can take steps to prevent breast cancer