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    October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | October 8th, 2017

    October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    The good news is that we have less women dying of breast cancer; however the fight is not over. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women after skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, by the end of 2017, an estimated 252,710 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and an estimated 40,610 will die from it.

    White women get breast cancer at a slightly higher rate than black women; however black women die at higher rate than any other ethnic group. Black women tend to be diagnosed before the age of 40 and tend to have the more aggressive type of breast cancer.

    The best fighting chance is to try as much to decrease the risk factors that we have control of and to detect breast cancer early.

    Here is what you can do:

    1. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT – obesity increases your risk of breast cancer when you become menopausal. Even a little bit of weight loss helps to decrease your risk..
    2. EXERCISE – There is evidence to show that women who get regular physical activity have a lower risk of breast cancer compared with women that do not exercise.
    3. LIMIT ALCOHOL – Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. If you have to drink then limit yourself to no more than 1 drink per day.
    4. AVOID TOBACCO – QUIT smoking.
    5. BE AWARE OF CHANGES IN YOUR BODY – BREAST SELF-AWARENESS – If you feel a lump in your breast, if you notice any bloody nipple discharge or a milky discharge unrelated to breastfeeding and or breast pain unrelated to your menstrual cycle – SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR – this is regardless of your age and regardless of whether you had a normal mammogram or recent exam by your doctor. DO NOT IGNORE THESE ABNORMAL CHANGES.
    6. GET YOUR SCREENING MAMMOGRAM – For most women this will be yearly starting at age 40, however if you have a family history of breast cancer, it might be younger. If you are younger, a breast ultrasound may be ordered as well because younger women have dense breasts. If you have any symptoms like a lump or pain, you should get a diagnostic mammogram. This is different from a screening mammogram. More images are taken with a diagnostic mammogram.
    7. MAKE SURE THAT YOU FOLLOW UP ON YOUR RESULTS. You should know your result within one week of a mammogram. If you do not get your result in a timely manner, call your doctor to get your result. If the result is abnormal, follow up with your doctor immediately, you might need additional testing or may be referred to a breast specialist.

    I said it last year and I will say it again – WE CAN ALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST BREAST CANCER. Share the information. Encourage your friends and relatives of the right age to get a mammogram. If your friend or relatives tells you they feel a lump in their breast, encourage them to see a doctor. If you know someone that has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, offer your assistance, sometimes all they need is a hug or an ear (to listen). If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, please know that you are not alone and there are people that love you but are not sure what they can do – tell them what they can do to help you.

    With the Affordable Care Act, insurance are supposed to cover mammograms without any cost sharing, meaning it should be free. If you do not have insurance, the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program provide access to breast cancer screening to low-income, uninsured and underinsured women.

    For additional information on breast cancer that includes risk factors and prevention, you can visit – The American Cancer Society or the CDC.

     

    One Response to “October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month”

    1. Chinwe Okpalaoka says:

      Thank you for helping raise awareness about this issue

    Leave a Reply

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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