Make a Difference - Fighting Breast Cancer

October 1, 2012 by Molly Huff

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  It is estimated that in 2012 among U.S. women there will be over 220,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed and over 35,000 breast cancer deaths.  As staggering as these statistics are, the odds of beating breast cancer are better than ever.  The 5-year survival rate for all women diagnosed with breast cancer is 90 percent, and your chances of survival are better is the cancer is found early and confined to the breast.  Early detection and effective treatment are the reasons for improvements and survival and reason for great hope in defeating this disease.

So what can you do?  The best way to find breast cancer early is to get screened by your doctor.  You can speak with your health care provider about what screening tests are right for you, but generally mammograms are preferred for women age 40 and over, and clinical breast exams by your physician are recommended at least every three years for women between the ages of 20 and 39. 

Know what is normal for you - know how your breasts normally look and feel.  If you notice any change, make an appointment with your doctor.  You are your own best advocate. 

Some known risk factors for breast cancer are:

  • Having an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 breast cancer gene
  • Personal history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Family history of breast, ovarian or prostate cancer
  • High breast density on a mammogram
  • Starting menopause after age 55
  • Never having children or having your first child after age 35
  • Radiation exposure, frequent x-rays in youth
  • Being overweight after menopause or gaining weight as an adult
     

Besides knowing your own body and being aware and proactive in the fight to prevent and detect breast cancer, you can support research and awareness locally as well.  The Susan G. Komen foundation has been promoting awareness and making an impact on the fight against breast cancer since 1982.  This organization provides many ways to get involved - donations, advocacy, and involvement in the ever-growing Race for the Cure that is held in cities across the nation.  Click here to find out how you can get involved.  Also, check in your community for local resources and organizations dedicated to breast cancer awareness and prevention. 

In Tifton, Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) was recently awarded full certification as a  breast health center by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).  TRMC successfully completed the NAPBC survey process and has received a three-year accreditation

Dr. Joel Johnson, M.D., general surgeon, hospital board member and medical director for TRMC’s Tift Comprehensive Breast Center,  said that receiving NAPBC accreditation is important because it means that TRMC uses a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosing and treating breast disease and has undergone a rigorous application process and on-site survey to assure national standards are being met.   “Not all hospitals meet these stringent standards,” said Dr. Johnson.  “In fact, TRMC is one of only 13 NAPBC accredited programs in the state and one of only two in South Georgia,” he said.  “These centers voluntarily enter into an agreement to maintain their high level of clinical care with re-certification required every three years.”   Read the entire story here.

To find out more about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, click here.   Affinity wishes you a happy and healthy October and encourages you to get involved in this worthy cause.