October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Following are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control on being aware of risks for the disease and advice on steps to take to lessen your risk as well as symptoms of which to be aware.
Ask your doctor when you should get a mammogram.
Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
There are different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include—
● Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
● Pain in any area of the breast.
● Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood).
● A new lump in the breast or underarm.
If you have any signs that worry you, see your doctor right away.
What are the risk factors?
Some main factors that affect your chance of getting breast cancer include—
● Being a woman.
● Being older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older.
● Having changes in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
How can I lower my risk?
You can do things to help lower your breast cancer risk.
● Keep a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
● Don’t drink alcohol, or limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
● If you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, ask your doctor about the risks.
● Breastfeed your children, if possible.
Fast facts about breast cancer
● Each year in the United States, more than 250,000 women get breast cancer and 42,000 women die from the disease. See detailed statistics.
● Men also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. About 1 out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States is found in a man.
● Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women.
— Centers for Disease Control