October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
It is that time of year again when we break out the pink clothes from the back of our closets. We wear them to acknowledge the continuous uphill battle for those recently diagnosed with breast cancer, those going through treatment, those in remediation, and those who have lost their lives because of this cancer.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is when the cells located in your breast grow uncontrollably. There are different subtypes of breast cancer and the type is dependent on location of the uncontrolled cells. The breast is made up of three main parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. Each of the parts have different function: the lobules make milk, the ducts carry the milk towards the nipple, and the connective tissue holds everything together. Majority of breast cancer start in the ducts or lobules.
Why is Breast Cancer important?
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer related death to women worldwide and is the second highest common cause of cancer for women in the United States. Majority of the time, breast cancer is identified with the female gender. However, males can be affected too. Breast cancer can be passed from one generation to the next. With increase awareness, annual preventative visits, and screening availability, clinicians have been able to detect breast cancer at an earlier age.
What can I do?
There are some modifiable risk factors that you may change to decrease your chances of developing breast cancer. They are: becoming more physically fit, not smoking, not being overweight or obese after menopause, not being on hormone replacement therapy after menopause, having your first child before 30 and breast feeding, and decrease alcohol intake.
Other things to consider is discussing your family history and personal medical history with your physician at your next wellness exam. You and your physician can weigh the risks and benefits of screening early at age 40, rather than at 50 years old (per USPSTF guidelines). The screening will start with a routine mammogram done every 1-2 years. If there is something abnormal found on the mammogram, we will help to coordinate your care with a referral to specialist.
If you have any concerns or questions, please book an appointment with your primary care provider at one of our locations.
Together, we can spread awareness about breast cancer.
Dr. Hannah Do, M.D. Family Medicine Physician