At Libertana, our patients, their health and their families, are our priorities. To help promote sound health, we seek to provide useful health information and resources It’s with this motivation that we highlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month. October of every year serves as a reminder to support the millions affected by breast cancer and do what we can to spread awareness needed to those who may be impacted in the future. Breast cancer is the second most prominent form of cancer among American women. It’s with this fact in mind, that we highlight valuable, practical information on to our readers. At Libertana, we recognize the importance of spreading breast cancer awareness and encourage all within our community to prioritize their health.
Below are a few important facts, reminders, and resources about breast cancer and how you can prepare to combat it.
Do microwaves cause breast cancer?
Despite what you may have read on a blog…no, microwaves do not cause breast cancer. Neither do cell phones, bras, deodorant, mammograms, or caffeine. Despite these myths, there are life choices that can increase your risk of breast cancer – excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, and a lack of exercise can all contribute to your chances to develop breast cancer. But the truth is, the vast majority of breast cancer occurs due to genetic risk factors, not avoidable types. While this may seem frightening, with awareness, information, and due diligence, you can vastly improve your ability combat this disease.
What can I do to lower my risk?
Unlike other forms of cancer, with a healthy lifestyle, and a dedicated awareness to the early signs, breast cancer is often manageable, and beatable. In fact, when detected early, the 5-year survival rate of breast cancer is 99%.
So how can I detect it early?
Any adult should perform monthly breast self-exams. In doing so, you will be able to more easily identify any changes in your breasts. And changes should be discussed with a healthcare professional. But only you can serve as the first line of defense for detection. In fact, 40% of all diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.
- Regularly scheduled mammograms
Women who are 40 and older are recommended to have mammograms every 1 or 2 years. Those younger than 40 that have risk factors for breast cancer should ask their healthcare professional whether mammograms are advisable and how often to have them. Even women who have no symptoms and no known risks for breast cancer should have regularly scheduled mammograms to help detect potential breast cancer at the earliest possible time.
Is there anything I can do to prevent it?
Officially, no. However, there are several specific things you can do to significantly limit your chances of contracting breast cancer. As mentioned above, breast cancer is often the result of genetics, but there are a few ways you can limit additional risk factors.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stay physically active – whether you walk, run, and/or exercise regularly – maintaining a regular physical routine is a good way to limit your risk of breast cancer, as well as other common afflictions
- Eat fruits and vegetables – maintaining a nutritious, balanced diet is a good way to ensure your body receives its needed nutrients and vitamins
- Do not smoke – this goes without saying, but refraining from smoking is always important for your health
- Limit alcohol consumption – not only does this diminish breast cancer risk, but it also keeps your livers healthy, and helps keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check
Lastly, as a man, I can’t get breast cancer, right?
Wrong. While rare, men can certainly develop breast cancer. Each year it is estimated that approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die. And because awareness among men is lacking, men carry a higher mortality than women do. Just like women, men should also check themselves periodically by doing a breast self-exam and reporting any changes to their physicians.
This month let’s work together to normalize breast cancer, its early signs, its treatment, and its impact on so many of us. By maintaining healthy lifestyles, staying vigilant, and talking to one another, we can continue to fight breast cancer. There’s many among us who are survivors, or future survivors – let’s use October to lift them up and work together to keep our families and communities safe. Below are several additional resources to help you stay informed.
Signs and Risk Factors:
Breast Cancer Myths: https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-myths/
National Mammography Day
Increasing Awareness and Treatment options for men:
How to Lower Your Risk: