October: Let's Beat Breast Cancer Together!

October 1, 2013 by Molly Huff

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Affinity would like to provide our patients and readers with helpful, healthful information. Here are some facts about breast cancer and its prevention, diagnosis, treatments - and how you can get involved.  Affinity also has a new women's practice, Affinity Physicians for Women.  Board Certified OB/GYN Dr. Shannon Price heads up this new branch of Affinity, and she provides comprehensive women's care from gynelogical annual appointments, to pregnancy care, to deliveries for expectant mothers and more.  Click here to read all about Affinity Physician's for Women and Dr. Price.  

It is estimated that there will be over 200,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in 2013 and over 39,000 deaths from the disease. Although these statistics are staggering, there are so many ways to educate yourself in prevention and treatment. Knowledge is power in this case. Here are a few things you should know:

Understanding Risk and Prevention

Know your risk – learn about your family history and talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer.
Get screened – Ask your health care provider what screening tests make sense for you. Typically, the guidelines include a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40; and, mammograms are generally recommended every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk.

Know what is normal for you, and see your health care provider or one of our Affinity physicians if you notice any of these changes:
• Lump, hard knot or thickening
• Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
• Change in the size of shape of the breast
• Dimpling or puckering of the skin
• Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
• Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
• Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
• New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

Make healthy lifestyle choices:
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Add exercise into your routine
• Limit alcohol intake

If, indeed, you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you should know that over the past 20 years, great strides have been made in the treatment of this disease. In fact, the number of breast cancer survivors continues to rise and there are about 2.5 million survivors in the U.S. today.

Some treatments for breast cancer include:
• Surgery
• Radiation therapy
• Chemotherapy
• Chemotherapy drugs
• Hormone therapies
• Targeted therapies
• Neoadjuvant (preoperative) therapies
• Emerging therapies

There are also many ways to support the fight against breast cancer. In addition to national organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society, many local organizations have information, support groups and events; check online, with your health care provider or phone book.

To find local Susan G. Komen affiliates, click here. To get involved with Susan G. Komen's Race for the Cure (the world's largest and most successful fundraising event for breast cancer ever created), click here.

Early detection and prevention are the key in conquering breast cancer. Affinity hopes you will get involved and join the fight against this disease.

Call Affinity Physician's for Women to set up your annual appointment and be ahead of the game when it comes to breast health.