Breast cancer is a growing pathology in the United States and worldwide. Research attributes the development of this disease to genetic and environmental factors. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2006 Breast Cancer Statistical Report reveals that over 191, 000 women have been diagnosed with it and approximately 41, 000 women have died from it.
According to the American Cancer Society, many of the risk factors associated with this disease that we have control over. For example, alcohol intake, giving birth to a first child after the age of 30, obesity, oral contraceptives, postmenopausal hormone replacement, and lack of exercise. On the other hand there are other risk factors that we have no control over, such as age, ethnicity, family history, and gender.
There are some individuals who have a genetic predisposition to develop this disease because they carry a mutation of the BRCA (breast cancer) gene. The BRCA gene is a tumor suppressor gene, preventing the growth of abnormal tissue in the breast. Individuals who carry a mutation of the BRCA gene are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Mutation in the BRCA gene is mostly prevalent among Jewish women. However, non-Jewish women have also been affected with this gene mutation.
How to Detect Breast Cancer Early
One way to fight back with this growing pathology is to detect it early. This form of cancer is painless. Just because you don’t feel pain in your breasts doesn’t mean there’s no need to be concerned. Perform monthly self-breast examinations along with mammograms. The American Cancer Society also recommends that women receive annual breast examinations by a licensed health professional. This yearly breast examination is not enough to detect this cancer. Therefore, monthly self-breast examinations are required. Courage is My Strength has put together a YouTube video providing information on the importance of performing breast examinations, when to perform these examinations and how to perform them correctly.
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. It is harmless because it is completed with the usage of low radiation. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center provides a YouTube video showing women how a mammogram is done. Mammograms are so important because they are able to detect breast lumps that may not be palpable during breast examinations. Annual mammograms should begin screening for form of this cancer in women at the age of 30 if they have a family history of it, and in women at the age of 40 without a family history.
This screening mechanism is the key to detecting this disease at an early stage. The earlier this breast pathology is detected, the more likely it is curable, resulting in a five-year or more survival rate. Some women may be afraid of the discomfort they may be feel during a mammogram since the procedure compresses the breasts so tightly. Women should not let this fear keep them away from getting this test. Talk with your primary healthcare provider and discuss your concerns. Analgesics prior mammograms are an option women have to help deal with the comfort sometimes associated with it.
Breast cancer can occur in anyone, irrespective race, age, or gender. Men are not immune to breast cancer. According to a 2010 report in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, approximately less than one percent of the breast cancer cases are men. Even though women are more likely to develop breast cancer than men, men still need to be aware of the possibility of developing this disease.
If you or someone you loves needs a mammogram and/or does not have the adequate health insurance to cover the cost, please seek assistance. Liv.Com is a website that provides information on how women without health insurance can receive free or discounted mammograms. There is no excuse for any woman not to be screened for breast cancer.
Let’s all reach out and grasp the opportunity to prolong life!