Temperature Check: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month bringing more awareness about the disease and educating women on the steps to take for early detection. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the United States. Thanks in part to early detection and the advancement of treatments to fight breast cancer, millions of women are survivors. At this time there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that can grow into surrounding tissues or spread to distant areas of the body. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it occurs almost entirely in women.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass found in the breast. This lump can usually be detected during a self-exam or clinical breast exam. But there are other signs of a possible breast cancer diagnosis:
-Swelling of all or part of the breast, even if no distinct lump is felt
-Skin irritation or dimpling
-Breast or nipple pain
-Nipple turning inward
-Redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple of breast skin
-A nipple discharge other than breast milk
-Sometimes breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone, causing a lump or swelling in those spots, as well
“These signs do not mean that you have breast cancer, but they should be evaluated further by your provider to determine the reason for these symptoms,” adds Crystal Lister, Certified Nurse Midwife at NCHS San Marcos Health Center.
Importance of Early Detection
Early detection means using self-exams or other tools to diagnose breast cancer early. “Early detection is important because the sooner breast cancer is detected, the sooner a treatment plan can be established hopefully resulting in a better outcome,” commented Lister. Early detection tests for breast cancer saves thousands of lives each year. Here is a list of early detection tests:
-Women in their 20s should conduct breast self-exams monthly, usually after their period and should report any breast changes to their health provider.
-Women in their 20s and 30s should have clinical breast exams every three years as a part of their regular health exam by their provider.
-Women in their 40s should have start having their clinical breast exams every year and should have a mammogram every year.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray exam of the breast. Mammograms are recommended for women over the age of 40 and are used to screen for breast cancer in women with no symptoms. “Mammograms are the only imaging modality that has been found to consistently decrease breast cancer related deaths,” stated Lister. This exam is recommended annually for women as a preventative and early detection tool.
On October 24th, NCHS will be partnering with Cancer Care Associates to host a Breast Cancer Awareness Event providing qualified women with clinical breast exams and mammograms. At the event breast cancer doctors will be speaking on early detection and what you do when you receive a breast cancer diagnosis. Cancer survivors will also be sharing their stories of success.
After your exam enjoy a mini facial, massage and join the salsa dancing party! All participants will receive a goody bag and be entered to win raffle prizes.
Event: Breast Cancer Awareness Event
When: Saturday, October 24th
Pre-Registration Starts: 8:00am
Where: NCHS San Marcos Health Center
150 Valpreda Road
San Marcos, CA 92069
Would you like more information about the event? Please call (760) 736-8698 for more information or visit our website at www.nchs-health.org.