Breast Cancer Awareness Month
By. Julie Theis, WHNP
October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in America. Organizations use this month to collectively increase awareness about the disease and raise money for research on cause, prevention, and treatment of breast cancer. According to breastcancer.org, an expected 330,080 women, and 2,550 men, will be diagnosed with new cases of breast cancer in 2018. In 2018, approximately 40,920 women are expected to die from breast cancer. Breastcancer.org, thankfully, also reports that rates of death have been declining since 1989.
We at Lexington Regional Health Center, are committed to helping our community be aware of their risks for Breast Cancer. According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force, screening mammograms should begin by age 50. However, some women should begin mammograms at age 40 or even earlier. It is important to talk to your health care provider about your family history and lifestyle factors that may increase risks for developing breast cancer. Meeting with your provider also gives you the opportunity to discuss breast changes that should be monitored. If you ever notice any changes to your breasts, please see a healthcare provider right away. Some common and concerning changes women will notice are finding a lump, skin changes including redness or dimpling, and nipple changes including discharge, or nipples becoming inverted. In our culture, breasts are considered intimate anatomy. This can create barriers in women’s comfort level about discussing their breasts with their healthcare providers. The providers at LRHC are committed to helping the community lower this barrier by making them feel comfortable talking about and evaluating breast changes, as well as arranging screening mammograms.
Screening mammograms are important as some types of breast cancers don’t cause any symptoms, and thus cannot be seen or felt. Often, if breast cancer is diagnosed earlier, the prognosis is better and treatment may be less invasive, and have a lower total cost to treat. When breast cancer is present longer, it can spread to other parts of the body and this is often the cause of deaths related to breast cancer.
We invite you to join LRHC and our community in using Breast Cancer Awareness month to celebrate survivors and continue to raise awareness to help decrease the burden this disease will have on our community in the future. Please feel welcomed to schedule an appointment at Lexington Regional Health Center’s Family Medicine Specialists clinic to discuss your risk, symptoms, screening, or any questions you may have.