Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Stay Strong, Get Checked

Happy October to all of my strong women! October is Breast Cancer awareness month, and it's important that we keep shedding a light on this awful disease being that Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among women WORLDWIDE. It's estimated that this year, in the U.S. alone, there will be: 252,710 new cases of invasive Breast Cancer among women, and 40,610 Breast Cancer related deaths. That's a scary statistic, but it doesn't have to be your reality. 

Early detection is key to finding signs of Breast Cancer and getting treatment before it progresses. The most common signs are a change in the look or feel of the breast, a change in the look or feel of the nipple and nipple discharge. If you have any of the warning signs described below, see a health care provider, and STAY STRONG.

Warning Signs

  • Lump, hard knot, or thickening of the breast inside the under arm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that does not go away

It's important to note that the warning signs for Breast Cancer are not the same for all women and in most cases, these changes are not cancer. However, the only way to know for sure is to see a doctor and get checked.

Eating a healthy diet might decrease your risk of some types of cancer, as well as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Maintaining a healthy weight also is a key factor in breast cancer prevention. Here are some other steps you can take to lower your risk:

  • Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. The general recommendation — based on research on the effect of alcohol on breast cancer risk — is to limit yourself to less than 1 drink per day as even small amounts increase risk.
  • Don't smoke. Accumulating evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in premenopausal women. In addition, not smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
  • Control your weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs later in life, particularly after menopause.
  • Be physically active. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.
  • Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution.Medical-imaging methods, such as computerized tomography, use high doses of radiation. While more studies are needed, some research suggests a link between breast cancer and radiation exposure. Reduce your exposure by having such tests only when absolutely necessary.
Danelle Benton-Smith