At Hands From The Heart Home Healthcare Services, we are passionate about serving those in our communities by providing information and education about how everyone can stay happy and healthy.

October is breast cancer Awareness Month. On Friday, October 11th our office staff wore pink in honor of those affected by the disease. But breast cancer awareness month is about more than just wearing pink in support. Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women in the United States, after lung cancer. However, since 1989, the number of women who have died of breast cancer has steadily decreased thanks to early detection and treatment improvements. This month is about spreading awareness of the disease and advocating for people to be aware of the early signs and symptoms.

Who does Breast Cancer Affect?

Breast cancer will affect 1 in 8 women in their lifetimes and is the most common cancer in women (besides skin cancer). But did you know that breast cancer can affect men too? While the disease in men is rare, this year, an estimated 2,670 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

In both men and women, older age is the most common risk factor for breast cancer. That is why it is important for both men and women to be informed.

What is the survival rate of Breast Cancer?

The NCI reports that 61.4 percent of women are diagnosed at the local stage or stage 1. At this point, the 5-year survival rate is very high: between 98.8 and 100 percent. For women who are diagnosed at stage 2, that figure drops to 93 percent. Women who are diagnosed at stage 3 have a 72 percent likelihood of surviving for 5 or more years, and women who are diagnosed at stage 4 have a 22 percent likelihood. These statistics can seem scary, but they show the importance of early detection.

What are the symptoms of Breast Cancer?

Currently there is not sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer, therefore, early detection of the disease remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control. Early detection methods include regular mammograms for women and overall paying attention to what is normal for your breasts and talking note of any drastic changes.

Some warning signs of breast cancer include

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

This list is not all inclusive, which is why it is so important to have regular mammograms! They can be expensive, so here is a list of free mammogram providers In the Philadelphia area.

Are there any ways to prevent Breast Cancer?

If you’re concerned about developing breast cancer, you might be wondering if there are steps you can take to help prevent breast cancer. Some risk factors, such as family history, can’t be changed. However, there are lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk, such as limiting alcohol consumption, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.

Breast Cancer is not 100% preventable, but being proactive by having regular mammograms, living a healthy lifestyle, and being knowledgeable about detecting early symptoms can greatly increase the chances for survival.