October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Katherine Miller


The month of October marks an important, informative time for both women and men during the annual National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As the American Cancer Society reports,

an estimated 182,460 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the U.S. this year alone, and about 40,480 deaths are expected.

“Typically, early-stage breast cancer typically produces no symptoms,” said Dr. Satinder Siani of Crowley. Also, it is important that women follow recommended guidelines for finding breast cancer before its symptoms develop, studies show.

“Numerous studies have shown that early detection increases treatment options and can save lives. That is why it is so important for women 40 and older to get an annual manmogram,” said Holly Domingue, Community Representative of the American Cancer Society. The five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 98 percent among individuals whose cancer has not spread beyond the breast at the time of diagnosis.

Breast cancer is rare in men, but does occur. This year, it is estimated that 1990 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and that 450 will die of the disease.

Yearly mammograms and clinical breast exams are recommended for women over the age of 40, and for ages 20 to 39, a clinical exam at least once every three years, informed Dr. Siani.

Those most at risk for developing breast cancer are age, family history and genetics and previous radiation treatment to chest area. Also, post-menopausal weight gain certain types of benign disease and various hormone-related factors increase this risk. “It is important that those with a family history of breast cancer are screened, as this cancer has a better prognosis the earlier it is treated,” Dr. Siani added.

While there is no known prevention factor of breast cancer, doctors recommend maintaining a healthy weight, eating a well-balanced diet, and are physically active for 45 to 60 minutes, most days of the week.

“Symptoms to look for”, Dr. Siani informed, “are any type of discharge from the breast, especially if bloody, thickening of the skin around the breast area and lumps all the way to around the armpit area. Self-breast exams should be performed once a month, around the same time of the month, generally not around a woman’s cycle.”

For more information on the subject of breast cancer, contact your physician, or log on to the website provided by the American Cancer Society, at www.cancer.org.

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