October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – a perfect time to raise awareness about breast cancer – a disease that affects millions of women (and men) worldwide.
In fact, it is believed that 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life. In the US alone, about 255,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women every year and about 42,000 women die from the disease. Overall, breast cancer affects at least 2.1 million women worldwide every year and accounts for 15% of all cancer deaths.
So, during this breast cancer awareness month, let’s learn how to care for our breasts, and stop cancer in its tracks!
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a form of cancer in which some cells of the breast start to grow and divide abnormally. The cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells and are usually felt as a lump. While during the initial stages these cancerous cells stay confined within the breast, during later stages they turn malignant and start to invade other tissues and organs of the body and cause cancer there.
Breast cancer mostly occurs in women aged 40 years and above, who have been through their menopause. However, younger women and men can also get the disease.
What Puts You at Risk for Breast Cancer?
While all women have some risk of breast cancer, some factors can increase that risk.
- Age: 50 and above
- Family history of breast or ovarian cancer
- Genetic mutations
- Late pregnancy
- Previous treatment using radiation therapy or hormonal therapy
- Lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking
- Being overweight or obese
- Exposure to drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy
Though these factors put you at higher risk for breast cancer, women without these risks can still get breast cancer. That’s why it is so important for all women to get a mammogram each year, whether they are experiencing any symptoms or not.
The Significance of Preventive Health Checkups
Detecting breast cancer early is the only way to prevent cancer cells from turning malignant – a stage where cancer is the most difficult to stop. Therefore, early detection not only protects you from the severity of the disease, it also improves your chances of successful treatment and survival.
All women, above the age of 40, should schedule a preventive health checkup with their primary care physician once a year to detect or rule out the possibility of cancer.
Here are some breast cancer screenings that women must consider:
A mammogram is a low dose X-ray of the breast that helps you to detect breast cancer at a very early stage. It helps you to record even the slightest change in the breast (which could be cancer), years before the appearance of physical symptoms.
Since this screening test helps you to detect cancerous growths at a very early stage, regular mammograms eliminate the need for more aggressive breast cancer treatments like mastectomy (surgery to remove the breast) and chemotherapy and increase your chances of survival.
However, the results of digital mammography are not always accurate, as it may give you a false positive also.
A 3D mammogram is a highly advanced breast imaging technology that overcomes the limitations of all previous technologies. By taking multiple 3D pictures of your breast from different angles, it allows your provider to better visualize and detect breast abnormalities, increasing the chances of early detection and significantly reducing the possibilities of false positives.
The Bottom Line
Preventive health screenings are the best and the only possible way to detect breast cancer while it is still in its early stages. It makes treatment easy and more effective. All women, whether they are at risk or not, should have a regular annual screening of their breast. Preventive health checks also help you to minimize the health complications that occur during the later stages of breast cancer.
So, don’t skip or delay your breast cancer screening! Visit EPIC Health today for a 3D mammogram. It is the easiest way to save your life and a world of pain and suffering.
Schedule a Preventive Health Check at EPIC Health today! We can help you live happy, healthy, and better.