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    October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | October 4th, 2015

    October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women. Although more white women are diagnosed with breast cancer, more black women die of breast cancer. Black women have the highest death rates of all racial and ethnic groups.

    Why the difference?  Treatment disparity, cancer found at a later stage, type of cancer tends to be the aggressive type (triple-negative breast cancer), and/or lack of timely follow up after a diagnosis is made –  to name a few

    What can all women do?

    1. 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 a recent exam by your doctor.
    2. 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, additional test like a breast ultrasound may be ordered because younger women have dense breasts
    3. If you have any symptoms like a lump, you should get a diagnostic mammogram. This is different from a screening mammogram. More images are taken with a diagnostic mammogram.
    4. Make sure that you follow up on your result. You should know your result within one week of the mammogram. If you do not get your result in a timely manner, call your doctor to get your result
    5. If your result is abnormal, follow up immediately with your doctor – you will be referred to a breast specialist

    We can all make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.  Share the information. Encourage our friends who are of the age to get their mammogram. If a friend tells you that they feel a lump, encourage them to see their doctor. If you know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, be there for them in whatever capacity they need you.

    With the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies 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, SusanG.KomenRaceforCureBreastcancer.org.

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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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