The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes in the United States. To put that into perspective, that means by the time you finish this article, another diagnosis has already been given. That’s how quick it can be. And that’s why understanding the disease is so vital. One in every eight women are affected.
Although doing regular breast self-exams has not been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer, choosing to live a healthy lifestyle can reduce your likelihood. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, eating fruits and veggies and limiting alcohol consumption with no smoking.
Contrary to popular belief, caffeine, deodorant, microwaves, cell phones and contact with another who has cancer does not cause breast cancer. Having a family history of breast cancer can make you predisposed, although it’s not a sure sign that you will get it, too. Many women who have risk factors never develop breast cancer.
If you have any concerns about your risk factors or any changes in your breasts over time, talk to your trusted healthcare provider. Breast cancer can be diagnosed through multiple ways, including a mammogram, ultrasound, MRI, biopsy and lab tests. If confirmed, there are multiple treatment options. They include surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapies. Weighing each with your doctor will help you decide which is best for you and your unique case.
Be sure to note that breast cancer does not discriminate. Although less common, men can be diagnosed, too.
Take this time during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to focus on yourself, your health and the health of others. Being educated and proactive is a great way to pay-it-forward, or pink-it-forward, to all the loved ones in your life.