Wellness Wednesday – Breast Cancer Awareness with Nurse Lauren
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. It is the second most common cancer for women only behind skin cancer. It is not just a problem here in the U.S. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that it is the most common cancer among women worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of women die each year in countries all over the world. Although these are grim facts, there are some hopeful statistics to report also. Due to early detection and better screenings, the death rate from breast cancer has been declining for approximately the last 25 – 30 years.
What Should You Do?
1. Know your risk factors. There are genetic and environmental risk factors. Genetic factors to consider are gender, age, race, family history, menstrual and reproductive history and the density of your breast tissue. Environmental risk factors include poor diet, lack of exercise, weight, alcohol consumption, combined hormone replacement therapy, and radiation to the chest.
2. Look for symptoms and signs. Do you notice a change in how your breast or nipple feels? Is there a change in your skin texture or an enlargement of pores? Do you feel a lump? Is there a clear, milky, or bloody discharge? Not all of these things mean cancer, but you should get checked out by your doctor if any of these signs occur.
3. Get a mammogram. Once you reach the age of 40 you should get a mammogram every year. If you are younger than forty, but have risk factors, you should discuss with your healthcare professional when you should start getting mammograms and how often.
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, please visit The National Breast Cancer Foundation (@NBCF) for more information on your diagnosis, stages, types of cancer, treatment options, myths, and support.
This is Nurse Lauren, contributor of NursesNOW, signing off with your Wellness Wednesday Tips! Remember that in addition to wearing pink this month to raise awareness, you should also be doing your monthly self-checks and scheduling your yearly mammogram.