October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Ok. I know you already knew that . There is pink EVERYWHERE! More importantly, do you know your risk for breast cancer? You should.
Figuring out your risk, can be somewhat tricky. After all, there are breast cancer patients who didn’t appear to have any risk at all…
So basically, if you’ve got nipples, you’ve got a risk factor for breast cancer. If you don’t have nipples, that’s another topic entirely…but I digress.
So, it’s important to:
1. Know your family history
2. Establish a relationship with a medical provider
3. Follow your provider’s recommendations/established screening guidelines
4. Pay attention to your body
Did you know?
– Although not as common when compared with women, this year, about 2400 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in MEN! Men and women share similar risk factors.
Evaluating your risk.
First, please be aware that breast cancer can occur in people who have none of the “risk factors.” Therefore, if you have any questions, or concerns, see your medical provider. Has anything changed about your breasts? Size? Skin color? Skin texture? Nipple discharge or bleeding? Itching? If you think something is different, you and your tatas should be evaluated by a medical provider.
Gender. Females are affected more often than males.
Race/Ethnicity. Whites are more likely to contract breast cancer, African-Americans are more likely to die from the disease.
Genetics. Sometimes, you can inherit more than a noble chin or button nose from your ancestors.
Family history of breast cancer. There’s increased risk if a first degree relative (mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son) has had breast cancer. Important to know how old family members were at the time of diagnosis. However, 85% of those diagnosed with breast cancer had no family history of the disease.
Menstrual history. Increased risk with menses onset before age 12, and menopause after age 55.
Previous radiation therapy to the chest. Examples include receiving chest radiation to treat lung cancer, etc.
Prior cancer diagnosis.
Late (first child after age 30) or no childbirth.
Birth control use.
Hormone therapy after menopause.
With all risk factors, there are things we can change/control ( obesity, smoking, etc.) and things that we cannot ( genetics, gender, age).
Speak with your provider about your individual risk factors and when it is appropriate to begin screening.
For more information, check out the following: