As you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I’d like to use this blog post to provide some information on breast cancer and what you can do.
- Breast cancer is a condition or disease where breasts cells begin to grow out of control.
- Even though breast cancer is most often seen in older women (50 and over), 60% of the breast cancer diagnosed in Jamaica is among women who are between the ages of 25 to 59.
- Breast cancer showing up in younger women points to a more aggressive form of cancer.
4. It is the most common cancer diagnosed for Jamaican women.
5. One in every 21 Jamaican woman will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
6. Even though rare, men can also get breast cancer.
7. Every woman has a 12% of developing breast cancer.
8. Symptoms include a lump, discharge from the nipples, change in breast size and shape, thickening of the skin among other facts. These can also benign and must be checked out.
9. Risk factors include things you can’t really control like: age, sex, genes (like the BRCA gene), family history, genetic mutation etc.
10. Other risk factors include: diet, level of physical activity, weight, alcohol and smoking.
11. These are merely risk factors, anyone can develop breast cancer.
12. Screening tests are tests performed BEFORE symptoms appear. They are used to detect cancer early when it’s easier to treat.
13. Screening tests have BOTH risk and benefits that should be considered when choosing the right one.
14. Mammograms aren’t the only form of screening tests. There are also breast MRIs, laboratory test, physical exams (breast self exam and the clinical breast exam) and genetic tests.
15. High quality mammograms and clinical breast exams are the most sensitive methods.
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