October: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, approximately one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, which accounts for about 30 percent of cancers in women.
Below are some commonly asked questions about breast cancer:
Who is most likely to develop breast cancer?
White women are slightly more at-risk of developing breast cancer; however, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer because they are more prone to develop aggressive forms of the cancer earlier in life. Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women are at a lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer.
Am I more at-risk to develop breast cancer if a family member has had breast cancer?
Yes. A woman's risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
How often should I do a breast self-exam?
Breast self-exams should be done monthly. A woman should look for changes in breast tissue, to include feeling a palpable lump, dimpling or puckering of the breast, inversion of the nipple, redness or scaliness of the breast skin or nipple area, or discharge secretions from the nipple. If some of these changes are found during a breast self-exam, you should see your physician. The providers at the 8th Medical Group can perform clinical breast exams to determine further course of action, if necessary.
Does smoking increase my chances of getting breast cancer?
Yes. Smoking has been a confirmed risk factor for many types of cancer, to include breast cancer.
What else can I do to decrease my risk of developing breast cancer?
Exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer and many other cancers. Thirty minutes of exercise every day helps boost a person's immune system. A healthy, low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Diets that are high in fat can increase the risk of developing cancer because fat triggers estrogen production that can fuel tumor growth.
How often should I get a mammogram?
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends women begin having mammograms at age 50 and to get them every two years up to age 74. Women younger than age 50 should discuss with their doctor to determine when to start and how often to have a mammogram.