Beat the Odds of Breast Cancer!

In 2013, it is approximated that there will be 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer among women in the U.S., according to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  Luckily, there are numerous ways to prevent and detect breast cancer at an early stage. 

Limit your alcohol intake and do not smoke in order to reduce your risk.  Gathered evidence indicates a connection between smoking and breast cancer risk, especially in premenopausal women.  Controlling your weight and being physically active will also help reduce your risk.  Breast-feeding possibly takes part in breast cancer prevention and the longer you breast-feed the greater the preventative effect.  If you take hormone therapy, restrict the dose and length.  “Combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer.  If you’re taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options.  You may be able to manage your symptoms with nonhormonal therapies, such as physical activity,” according to the Mayo Clinic
Having regular screening tests done is the optimal way for women to reduce their risk because they have the ability to detect breast cancer early on, when the possibility of survival is greatest.  It is important to become familiar with how your breasts usually look and feel so it is easier for you to detect if something is different.  If you discover any of the following warning signs of breast cancer, contact your health care provider: 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 nipples or other parts of the breast, nipple discharge that starts suddenly, or new pain in one spot that doesn’t go away. 
Breast implants do have a possibility of obscuring mammograms and the most crucial factor is where the implant is placed.  Ones that are placed below the chest muscle have a smaller chance to alter a mammographic view than ones that are inserted above.  Since implants have the possibility to change the results of a mammogram, it is especially important for women with implants to be familiar with their breasts.  “Noticing breast changes can sometimes be easier for women with implants because the implants push the natural breast tissue to the outside of the breast, making a lump easier to feel,” says Elisabeth Beahm, M.D., F.A.C.S., a professor in the Department of Plasticy Surgery at M.D. Anderson. Several studies have shown that cases of breast cancer are actually lower with women who have implants over the general female population. 
Support Breast Cancer Awareness month at the 21st Annual Komen Phoenix Race for the Cure.  The event will be held on Saturday, October 13 at the Wesley Bolin Plaza.  Registration is available online and in person the day of the race.  Race options are a 1 Mile Run/Walk, Breast Cancer Survivors 5K Run, 5K Run, 5K Walk, and Sleep In for the Cure.