October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and as health care professionals, Keystone Dental Arts is committed to doing our part to promote wellness for our patients and the greater community.
Breast Cancer Can Affect Anyone
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, with one in eight being diagnosed during their lifetime. It’s estimated that over 260,000 more women will have been diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of this year in the United States alone, and more than 40,000 women will have succumbed to the disease.
Although it’s rare, men may also be diagnosed with breast cancer, with approximately 2,550 cases expected to be diagnosed this year.
Hope Through Medical Advancements
While the diagnosis and death statistics for breast cancer are still unacceptably high, thanks to advancements in early detection, improvements in treatment, and increased awareness, survival rates have gone up steadily since 1989.
The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chances are for successful treatment. A mammogram can often identify breast changes that may be cancerous before physical symptoms develop; however, some cancers that are not apparent on a mammogram may still be felt by a woman or her health care provider. For this reason, the American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines for finding breast cancer early:
- Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
- Women in their 20s and 30s should have a breast exam by a health professional every three years. Beginning at age 40, women should have a breast exam every year.
- Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report any breast changes promptly to their health care provider. Breast self-examination (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.
Healthy Reminders for Busy Women
For many women, juggling work, home, and family leaves little time to take care of themselves. Adding your mammogram appointment to your calendar and keeping it, the way you do with all other important events, could save your life.
In addition to following the American Cancer Society’s early detection guidelines and getting a mammogram every year, there are important lifestyle choices you can make to help lower your risk of breast cancer. Take control of your breast health.
Watch your weight.
Being overweight or obese is associated with increased risk of developing breast cancer. Choose foods that will help you maintain a healthful weight. Eat five or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day. Choose whole grains in preference to processed (refined) grains and sugars. Limit the amount of red meat you eat, especially meats that are high in fat and processed. Balance the number of calories you consume with your physical activity.
Adults should engage in moderate or vigorous activity for at least 30 minutes on five or more days per week; 45 minutes or more of exercise on five or more days per week may be even better for reducing the risk of breast cancer.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
Women who drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than one drink per day (no more than two for men). The recommended limit is lower for women because of their smaller body size and slower metabolism of alcohol. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
Together, We Can Make A Difference
As your trusted, lifelong health partner, we want to do anything we can to keep you and your loved ones as healthy as possible.
There is HOPE in the fight against breast cancer but we must do more. Encourage all women over age 40 in your life to get a mammogram every year.
The educational content in this article is provided by the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Network can help those who have been touched by cancer. For more information, day-to-day help and emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.cancer.org or 1.800.227.2345.