Advocate Radiation Oncology

Breast Cancer Awareness: Practice Self-Care

Each year, over 250,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer. As the second most common cancer for women, breast cancer prevention begins with raising awareness and encouraging women to get screened.

For women at average risk, early detection screening should begin at age 45. However, suppose you have certain risk factors such as a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer or changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. In that case, your general physician may recommend you be screened earlier. A mammogram is still the best way to detect for breast cancer in most women. However, awareness of how your breasts look and feel and conducting your own monthly breast self-exam can be a great early warning system. If you notice any changes in your breast size or shape, pain, or lumps, consult with your doctor immediately.

If you receive a breast cancer diagnosis, it’s essential that you understand your treatment options and work with your physician on the best plan based on the stage and location of the cancer, as well as your overall health. Typically, treatment plans include a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy.

It is important to know that breast cancer’s mortality rate has declined over the past 30 years. By being proactive with breast screenings and educating yourself, you can improve your chances of surviving cancer if it occurs.