Breast Cancer Awareness Month
By Lebanon Family Health Services
Recently, the American Cancer Society released a hopeful report that stated that death rates from breast cancer have dropped 34% since 1990. This sharp decrease is a strong testament to the steadfast efforts of health advocates working to promote national and local awareness campaigns about the importance of early detection and increased research for breast cancer. Each year, this is evident in the month of October as we recognize National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
While we celebrate this progress, the fact remains that breast cancer is still the most common cancer diagnosed among women, only being surpassed by skin cancer. In fact, breast cancer accounts for 1 in 3 of all cancers diagnosed in women. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 40,000 women die each year from breast cancer even though it is one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
Therefore, this month we must celebrate and build on the lessons we have learned over the past couple decades. This means continuing to spread the word about the importance of early detection and supporting efforts that have aided countless women to take control of their personal health. This starts with knowing the common signs and symptoms of breast cancer, such as:
- New lumps or a lump in your breast that has changed
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Pain in the breast or nipple that does not go away
- Flaky, red, or swollen skin anywhere on the breast
- A nipple that is very tender or that turns inward
- Blood or any other type of fluid coming from the nipple (not breast milk)
Along with knowing the common signs, practicing basic health and wellness is essential. By staying physically active with regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol consumption a woman can reduce her risk for developing breast cancer. Furthermore, if you are over the age of 50, you should be getting a routine mammogram. Finally, carefully discussing with your healthcare professional the costs and risks associated with using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) at menopause is an essential component in maintaining breast health.
For over 40 years, Lebanon Family Health has been a local resource for women to diagnose breast cancer at its early stages and as a result, has aided them in seeking treatment. During the month of October, help support our continued efforts to combat breast cancer by participating in our “Pink Drink” campaign. Throughout the county, various establishments are supporting this initiative by selling their featured “Pink Drink” and collecting $1 donations from their patrons. A portion of all proceeds will assist us in continuing to bring these lifesaving practices to the women of Lebanon County.