October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Everyone should be encouraged to learn more about the importance of early detection.
Breast Cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that women in the United States suffer from. It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will contract breast cancer during their life. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 40,000 women will die of Breast Cancer in 2015. These are staggeringly high numbers. Waiting for symptoms to appear can sometimes mean that the disease is already at an advanced stage. This is why periodic self examination, clinical examination and mammograms are necessary for women above the age of 40, or women of any age who have a history of Breast cancer in their family. Studies have shown time and again that early detection is crucial in determining the success of the treatment that follows. Everything from the morbidity of the treatment and long term survival rates are better in patients whose cancer was detected at an early stage.
The American Cancer Society recommends that Breast Self Examination should be done regularly by women in their twenties and thirties, with a Clinical Breast Examination done every 3 years. This clinical examination is done in addition to getting a mammogram done. Women in their forties and above should be getting a Clinical Breast Examination every year. Research has shown that the chances of developing Breast cancer increases with age in women. Screening for Breast cancers is done with the help of X-Ray imaging, also known as mammography. This is the method that has proven itself to be the most reliable way to find small nodes of cancer before any symptoms appear.
One of the benefits of practicing self examination is to get know the normal shape and feel of your breasts. There may be lumps that are not cancerous in nature and these should not be a cause of worry. However, women should report any change in size, number or consistency of lumps in their breasts to a medical professional as soon as they find it.
You should also speak to your doctor about your individual risk of developing breast cancer. This can be estimated through genetic testing, a thorough family history and the presence/absence of certain syndromes or exposure to radiation at a young age.
Breast Cancer can be life altering and by raising awareness, we at Lembo Montgomery Family & Cosmetic Dentistry are doing what we hope everyone does. Sharing information. Share this to as many people as you know. Awareness and education are the best prevention tools and helps makes lives better.