Oak Hills Womens Center

October: National Breast Cancer Awareness

Dr. Carolyn's Corner

October: National Breast Cancer Awareness

Its that time of year again. The time before the holiday rush when we get a chance to reflect on ourselves, our health, our wellbeing. Taking stock of our womanhood and taking measures to ensure positive health outcomes is a responsibility and a privilege. Since 1985, October has been recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We owe it to ourselves to become better educated, to follow the science, and to learn how to better care for ourselves in particular with devastating disease. This month I encourage you to visit the websites in my article towards better information and to make your regular mammogram a priority. Your loved ones will thank you!

Early Detection Saves Lives

More than ever early detection of breast cancer is the key to effective treatment. And, maybe dodging the bullet altogether because Early Detection Saves Lives.

Insert facts from discussion

The #1 key to surviving breast cancer is screening toward early detection. Statistics are clear: 98% survival rate for women who catch it early compared to a 23% survival rate for what is not considered early detection. So, how early is early?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, based on limited scientific evidence, women age 40-49 should be screened every 1-2 years and women age 50+ should be screened annually. Remember, mammograms are a screening tool, not a cure. Also, women younger than 40 may be candidates for earlier screening based on family history, breast exams, or if high risk factors.

Breast self-exam

Monthly breast exams are still a straightforward method of finding anything palpable in the breast. If you find any of the following signs, see your physician immediately:

  1. New, hard lump or thickening in the breast anywhere

  2. Change in breast size or shape

  3. Dimpling or puckering of the skin

  4. Swelling, redness, warmth that is persistent

  1. Pain in one spot that doesnt vary with monthly cycle

  2. Pulling of nipple

  3. Nipple discharge, especially in one breast only

  4. Itchy sore or scaly area

The smaller the evidence of this disease, the better. So, breast cancers which are found in screening are most often still small and confined to the breast. By contrast, breast cancers which are causing symptoms tend to be larger and more likely to have spread. It is very clear that early detection of breast cancer is the key to its treatment.

Visit the American Cancer Society for information, support, and ways to be involved.

National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC)

Since 1991, the NBCC is on a mission to put an end, to stop, to eradicate, and to obliterate breast cancer by 2020. The Coalition is a network of groups, scientists, and individuals who all believe in a common goal, to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. To that end, it funds scientific research, influences public policy, industry, and advocacy. It also assists by creating ways to access quality care. It is responsible for more than 2.5 billion new federal dollars allocated to breast cancer research.

The NBCC is looking for your support. If you are concerned about breast cancer, consider becoming a part of this powerful movement. The Coalition provides valuable information, training, and influence as it increases public awareness of what is possible and what is to come. For additional information, or to read its annual reports since 2007, visit The National Breast Cancer Coalition website. Be a part of something big, help stop breast cancer forever.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation For the Cure

The Susan G. Komen for the CureFoundation is dedicated to raising funds and education for people touched by breast cancer. This global force hosts events in all major cities and is actively involved in legislature. In Texas alone, over 20 annual events provide opportunities to run, walk, bowl, cook, golf, and drive for the cure. The Passionately Pink program encourages us to wear pink, have fun, and raise funds for the Foundation and provide everything you need to make your event a success. For the latest in spiritwear, shop Komen and don your pink!

Each of us has something to give. Consider how you can make a contribution, make a difference, or make a change toward eliminating breast cancer from your life and the lives of the girls and women you love.

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