Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S., but it can be successfully treated. Male breast cancer is a rare cancer that forms in the breast tissue of men. Though breast cancer is most commonly thought of as a woman’s disease, male breast cancer does occur.  Screening tests can find cancer early, when chances for survival are highest. Regular screening tests reduce your chance of being a statistic of breast cancer.

It can occur at any age, but the risk goes up as you get older. Because of certain factors, some women may have a greater chance of having breast cancer than others. But every woman should know about breast cancer and what can be done about it.

  1. Know your risk


  • **There are special breast cancer screening guidelines for some women at higher risk.


  • If you are at higher risk of breast cancer, talk with your healthcare provider about which screening options are right for you. You may need to be screened earlier and/or more often than other women**


  • Talk to a doctor about your risk of breast cancer
  1. Get screened
  • Talk with a doctor about which screening tests are right for you if you are at higher risk.
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk.
  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40.
  1. Know what is normal for you

   See a doctor if you notice any of these breast changes:

  • * Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area.
  • * Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast.
  • * Change in the size or shape of the breast.
  • * Dimpling or puckering of the skin.
  • * Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple.
  • * Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast.
  • * Nipple discharge that starts suddenly.
  • * New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away.
  1. Make healthy lifestyle choices

Healthy lifestyle choices may help lower your risk of different types of cancer and other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Although not all the behaviors listed below lower the risk of breast cancer, they are good for overall health.*

One large study found that women who followed these guidelines had a lower risk of breast and other types of cancer including colorectal cancer.

Everyone should aim to:

  • * Be physically active and get regular exercise.
  • * Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • * Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • * Choose 100 percent whole grain foods.
  • * Limit red meat and processed meat. Choose chicken, fish or beans more often.
  • * Limit “bad” fats like those found in foods such as red meat, fatty deli meats, poultry skin, full fat dairy, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn.
  • * Eat “good” fats like those found in foods such as olive and canola oil, nuts and natural nut butters, avocado and olives.
  • * Limit alcohol intake to less than 1 drink a day for women and fewer than 2 drinks a day for men.

**Being physically active, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol and to a lesser degree, eating fruits and vegetables may help lower your risk of breast cancer. Other factors are good for your overall health and may help lower the risk of other types of cancer**

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