October 5, 2012#

Knowledge is Half the Battle Against Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Many advances have been made in the fight against breast cancer but there’s still much work to do. This week we wanted to share some important information about risk factors and prevention from our friends at Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12 percent) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 57,650 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.

1. Know your risk

  • Talk to your family to learn about your family health history
  • Talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer

2. Get screened

  • Ask your health care provider which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40

3. Know what is normal for you and see your health care provider if you notice any of these breast changes:

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

4. Make healthy lifestyle choices

  • Be physically active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Choose 100 percent whole grain foods (like 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, popcorn and quinoa) more often.
  • Limit red meat and processed meat (choose chicken, fish or beans instead).
  • Get enough vitamin D and calcium every day. For women and men ages 51 to 70, this means 10 mcg600 IU of vitamin D and 1,200 mg of calcium. For men ages 51 to 70, this means 600 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium.
  • Take a daily multivitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid (often called folate on nutrition labels).
  • If you drink alcohol, limit to drink less than one drink of alcohol a day

[Statistics and information courtesy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure]

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