According to Breastcancer.org, one out of eight women in the Rose City may develop an invasive breast cancer in their lifetime; nearly 250,000 cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2016 across the United States this year. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women after skin cancer, but if found and treated in early stages, there is hope for remission.
If you noticed a greater prevalence of the color pink lately—from the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure through downtown Portland, to the Seattle Seahawks and their pink gloves, cleats and other gear—that’s no accident. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when the American Breast Cancer Foundation encourages women, men and children to “Go Pink” to raise awareness for the disease. At The Portland Clinic, doctors and nurses are encouraging all women to understand the signs and risks of breast cancer to keep themselves healthy. Early detection and treatment is key to fighting breast cancer, the deadliest cancer for women after lung cancer.
Unfortunately, the highest risk factors of breast cancer are out of your control. Women are 100 times more likely to be diagnosed than men. Additionally, the risk of breast cancer grows with age, family history of the disease and other common gene-related mutations. Whether you’re a high-risk patient or not, it is important to recognize the symptoms of breast cancer:
- A lump/mass in the breast
- Swelling in the breast
- Irritated skin
- Redness or other texture changes in the skin or nipple
- Pain in the breast or nipple
It is essential to find breast cancer as early as possible to help ensure treatment will be effective. Breast cancers that are found because they can be felt, tend to be larger and are more likely to have already spread outside the breast, according to the American Cancer Society. Screening exams can often find breast cancers when they are small and still located solely within the breast.
While some of the risks associated with breast cancer are difficult to control, there are many lifestyle choices you can manage to help lower your risk that you should discuss with your doctor:
- Reduce consumption of alcohol
- Increase physical activity
- Keep a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Don’t smoke
- Get screened—The decision to screen is a shared decision between you and your doctor, as history, age and symptoms determine when you should be screen and vary per person.
If you are concerned about your health, or if you have any questions regarding breast cancer, please call 503-223-3113 for more information. (Please note, doctors and nurses at The Portland Clinic cannot provide medical advice to non-patients.)