October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a great time to educate ourselves on breast health and early breast cancer detection.
About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Knowing your risk and how to detect breast cancer early can save your life. Here are some tips:
1. Know your family history
Women with a mother, sister or daughter who has been diagnosed with breast cancer are 50% more likely to develop breast cancer than women who have no family history of the disease. Speak to both sides of your family to help identify if you are at a higher risk. Those who are should start screening earlier – the standard being five to 10 years younger than the earliest age that breast cancer was diagnosed in the family.
Self-checks are crucial for early detection of breast cancer. You should self-check your breasts at least once a month, feeling for any lumps or bumps in or around the breasts. Doctors recommend moving your fingers in a circular motion around the breasts and armpits while lying down. Forty percent of breast cancer cases are detected this way.
A mammogram is the standard method of screening for breast cancer. After turning 45, you should be receiving a yearly mammogram. Women at high risk should start earlier, normally around the age of 40 or aligned with their family history. Ask your doctor about where to receive a mammogram near you. Only go to a facility that is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).
4. Alert you doctor
If you do happen to feel any changes in your breast, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately. While not all lumps and bumps are cancerous, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Health tips are provided by UCF Health, the College of Medicine physician practice, with locations in East Orlando and Lake Nona.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at UCFHealth.com, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.
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