The time of year when big, burly men wear pink is here yet again! October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and most professional sports teams, businesses, schools, and communities have some form of a “show your support” day that encourages people of both genders to wear pink.
The increased support, locally and nationally, has helped provide funding for research and helped increase self-awareness. These combined efforts have helped individuals with breast cancer increase their chances of survival. According to the American Cancer Society, the death rate from breast cancer has declined 34% since 1990.
Here are a few things you can do to increase your personal awareness regarding breast cancer:
1) Understand your risk. Talk with members of your family to better understand any family history.
- Gender. Breast cancer occurs nearly 100 times more often in women than men.
- Age. Two out of three women with invasive breast cancer are diagnosed after age 55.
- Family history. If any family members have been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, your risk for developing these cancers in the future is increased.
2) Get screened. Ask your doctor which screening test is right for you.
3) Know what is normal for you. See your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Lump, hard knot, or thickening of the breast tissue.
- Swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening.
- Dimpling of the skin.
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly.
- Prolonged pain in a specific spot on the breast.
4) Reduce avoidable risk factors. Exercise, nutrition, and proper weight management.
For more information on breast cancer, visit our online Health Center. When you run a search on “breast cancer,” you’ll get more than 70 results on topics ranging from screening to surgery. You can also find information through a variety of organizations listed on the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website.