Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Know your Breasts!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Earlier this year I got a scare (after having a mammogram) that there was a spot on my breast that needed further tests. It was my first time being faced with a breast health issue and I was scared. 3 breast fed kids, healthy lifestyle, no history of breast cancer in my family and breasts that have been headed south for quite a while, I, in my ignorance, thought that I was out of the woods.  I clearly didn't know enough about my breasts.

However,  I later learned that about "85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer." This caused me to take my breast health more seriously.

The reality, 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

Current year estimates for breast cancer

The American Cancer Society's estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2016 are:
      • About 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
      • About 61,000 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
      •  For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other  cancer, besides lung cancer.
      • About 2,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2016. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.

Risk Factors include:
Being a Woman
Age (risk increases as you get older)
Family History 
Being Overweight
Pregnancy History
Breastfeeding History
Unhealthy Eating

Click here for a complete list and explanation of risk factors.

Some steps you can take to reduce risk factors include regular exercise, healthy eating habits, limit alcohol consumption, no smoking and checking your breasts often. Get to know your breasts and visit your physician if you feel or see any signs of irregularities. 

Your health is your greatest asset and that includes breast health.  Be informed, be aware, be healthy and embrace your journey.


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