National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is the month recognized to raised awareness of the epidemic of breast cancer. A very close relative of mine is a survivor of this disease so it is close to my heart. In the United States, one in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. It is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.

The statistics are startling, approximately 24 percent of breast cancer cases in the United States are diagnosed in women between 70 - 84 years old. In response senior living communities spend October bringing awareness, having fundraisers, and other activities that make an impact and help others.

“When you note the potential risk aspects for breast cancer and the lack of suitable focus by the health care industry, you may be thinking that the odds are stacked against you in getting appropriate care. You are still the greatest advocate for your own health so take charge of your breast health by trying the following:

  • Be sure to have all three types of breast examinations conducted frequently: self-exam, clinical exam and mammogram. Do the self-exam at least weekly to look for changes in the breast size or any lumps. Ask for a clinical exam by your health care professional whenever you have an office visit or at least yearly during your routine physical examination. Request or demand a yearly mammogram screening, which is still the best way to detect problems.

  • Don't let other medical factors or your own age phobia deter you from discussing your breast health with your physician. One piece of ammunition to remember in these discussions is that the American Geriatrics Society recommends regular mammogram screenings for women up to age eighty-five!

  • Get the screening you are entitled to and know that most insurance companies will pay for annual mammogram screenings. For those with limited insurance coverage, there is even a program called National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) that provides low or no cost mammogram screenings.

If breast cancer is detected, there are a number of treatment options available including radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal interventions and surgery. Some can be used alone or in combination with each other, depending on your particular needs. Information is power when considering your own breast health. Be an advocate for yourself when it comes to breast cancer awareness.”

Here are some additional website links to help you research and understand breast cancer.


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