Parkridge Health System - November 07, 2019

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women living in the United States, aside from skin cancer.

During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, take a moment to learn more about breast cancer, including the symptoms to watch out for and ways you can lower your risk.

Are You at Risk for Breast Cancer?

The short answer is yes. About one in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during their lifetimes. Risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Advanced age
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Family history of the condition
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Excess body weight
  • History of breast lumps
  • Radiation exposure

Although some of these risk factors cannot be changed, there are some that can be—including your body weight and alcohol consumption. Therefore, it is important to do what you can in order to lower your risk of getting breast cancer.

Work to reduce your risk by:

  • Limiting your alcohol intake
  • Quitting smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising on a regular basis
  • Limiting hormone therapy
  • Avoiding exposure to radiation
  • Following a healthy diet

Would You Recognize the Symptoms?

The key to surviving breast cancer is treating it during the earliest stage possible. That's why it's important to be regularly screened for breast cancer beginning later in life. There are several different guidelines on when screening should begin, but your doctor can recommend when to begin screening and how often based on your personal health history and needs.

Beyond regular screening, it's important to keep a watchful eye on your breasts. If you notice anything unusual, talk with your doctor.

Symptoms of breast cancer can include:

  • A lump or mass in your breast
  • Nipple discharge
  • Skin irritation
  • Swelling of all or part of breast
  • Redness of breast tissue
  • Skin dimpling

Are you due for a mammogram? Give Parkridge Medical Center a call (423) 493-1271 to schedule an appointment for a digital mammography scan.