Cancer Care Women's Health

Be Your Own Breast Friend

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means women and families across our community should take time to learn about the risk factors that can lead to breast cancer. It’s also an important time to review simple yet effective ways self-screen at home.

  • Get to know your family history: One of the most significant causes of breast cancer is simply genetics. Before meeting with a doctor, review your family’s health history, especially as it applies to breast cancer. The more information you are able to provide, the better your doctor will be able to evaluate your risks and determine the best approach method.
  • Recognize your risk factors: Although breast cancer can affect people of any age, women 45 and older are at much higher risk. Obesity or overly high Body Mass Index (BMI), which is the best measure of body fat, can also increase the risk of breast cancer.
  • Self-screen at home: One important step for successfully treating cancer is early detection. Women are their own best monitors of breast cancer and should watch for any changes in size or appearance. Women should be vigilant for any lumps, knots, or hard spots and get in touch with their physicians immediately.
  • Get regular mammograms: While self-examination is an excellent way to be proactive on top of your health, mammograms remain the best method of preventative screening. Having an annual mammogram remains the best tool for breast cancer detection as a mammogram can detect abnormalities in a woman’s breasts well before they will ever feel it themselves.

At Steward Health Care, we recommend that women ages 45 and up schedule annual mammograms as the risk of breast cancer increases with age. Younger women with a history of breast cancer, or who have a strong family history, may want to consider annual mammograms as well.


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