October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Every October, we remind everyone to remind the women that they love, especially themselves, to lower their risk for breast cancer.  Breast cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer in women.  Methods of reducing the risk of breast cancer are widely known, agreed on by the medical community, and covered by most insurance.

So, this October, join the community and help lower risks of breast cancer by doing the following, or encouraging someone you love to:

1)    Getting screened for breast cancer regularly.  Screenings for breast cancer are mammograms, clinical breast exams (those performed by a doctor or nurse), and breast self exams.

Mammograms are x-rays of the breast, and are the single most effective way of determining breast cancer.  Having regular mammograms will not reduce a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer, but it will reduce her risk of dying from cancer, because regular mammograms can detect cancer earlier.  Regular mammograms are those performed every two years for women between the ages of 50 and 74, unless otherwise recommended by her doctor.  Women younger than 50 should talk to their doctor about the timing of mammograms.

A woman should do have a clinical exam annually, a self exam monthly, and a mammogram as recommended by her doctor.

2)    Get some family history.  Mothers, sisters and daughters with a history of breast cancer increase the risk of breast cancer in mothers, sisters and daughters.  So, learn family history of breast cancer and talk to your doctor.

3)    Control weight with diet and exercise.  Being overweight increases chances of breast cancer.  Make this October a time to lose weight and lower the risks of breast cancer.

4)    Limit alcohol consumption.  Too many drinks, more than one a day, are thought to increase a woman’s chances for breast cancer.  Try a non-alcoholic alternative and toast good health.

5)    Weigh the options of hormone replacement therapy with a doctor specializing in hormone replacement therapy.  Long term use of these therapies is thought to increase the risks of breast cancer, so make and appointment to evaluate the benefits and risks with a doctor.

Lastly, wear pink in October.  This certainly does not reduce risks of breast cancer, but it serve as a reminder to everyone to schedule their breast cancer screenings, talk to their favorite ladies about breast cancer awareness, and honor breast cancer survivors and victims alike.  This October, think pink for breast cancer awareness.

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