Every October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s not uncommon to see everything from football players’ jerseys to yogurt lids turned pink for the month in honor of breast cancer awareness. And this is an important cause: Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women after skin cancer.
However, despite the push for breast cancer awareness, some facts still need to be known. For example, lung cancer is actually the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths among women. And when all causes of death are considered, heart disease is a far greater risk than breast cancer.
But the point remains that breast cancer awareness is still essential, especially because it can be so treatable when caught early. Our OB/GYN, Dr. Alan Patterson, explains more of the basic facts about breast cancer.
The breasts are made up of a few different parts which make them more susceptible to developing cancer. The largest percentage of the breast is fat tissue, but the breast also consists of ducts and lobes that carry breast milk to the nipple. Most cases of breast cancer are located in the ducts, although the lobes are not an uncommon source of cancer, either.
Breastfeeding your baby decreases your risk of developing breast cancer, which is one compelling reason to consider this feeding style.
The first and most important means of detecting early breast cancer is by doing a monthly self-examination of your breasts. The best time to do this is typically after your period, when your breasts are less affected by hormonal changes. Being consistent with breast self-exams is important because you would be the first one to notice abnormal changes, such as the development of lumps.
The second method for detecting breast cancer is through a mammogram. We typically recommend annual screening mammograms beginning at some point during your 40s, though we may recommend starting earlier if you had previous breast cancer or a family history of breast cancer.
Sometimes, early breast cancer doesn’t present any symptoms at all. If it does though, you might experience symptoms, such as the following:
Although these symptoms aren’t a definite sign that you have cancer, they should be taken seriously. Make sure to call Dr. Patterson as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms.
While there’s a genetic component involved in breast cancer and not every case can be prevented, there’s a lot that we know about things that increase your risk of breast cancer. Therefore, the best strategy is to try to manage your risk factors.
Some of the risk factors for developing breast cancer that you can manage include the following:
If you have any concerns about your breast cancer risk or the current health of your breasts, getting answers to your questions is the best way to set your mind at ease. We’re happy to speak with you. Call our office in Coral Springs, Florida, today or request an appointment online.
IMPORTANT NOTES about COVID-19:
1. We are still seeing obstetrics patients in our office to ensure that our pregnant patients are getting the care they need. If you are pregnant, please call us to book your appointment today. We are also seeing patients in our office that are having gynecological problems or emergencies.
2. Here's what we're doing to ensure the safety of our patients who come into the office for their appointments. We are:
Patients may not be accompanied by other people at their appointments.
3. We are offering telemedicine appointments for the following conditions: yeast infections, UTIs, birth control consults, vaginitis (vaginal infections), hormone replacement therapy consults, pre-menopause, menopause, amenorrhea, and abnormal periods. Please call us to determine if your need for services qualifies for a telemedicine appointment.