October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and one of the goals is to make sure patients know the risks and symptoms of the disease.
“When we talk about the risks of developing breast cancer, unfortunately there are risks we can’t control and risks that we can control,” explained Freeman Mammogram Specialist Jennifer Snook. “So, things like age, gender, family history – those are just kind of cards we’re dealt in life. but factors we can control, we want to educate women about so they can make better health choices like things as easy as proper weight management, diet, and exercise.”
It’s also a good idea to stop smoking and limit exposure to estrogen.
And patients should consider limiting alcohol.
“I really can’t stress that enough to women that excessive alcohol consumption really limits the liver’s ability to control blood levels of hormones such as estrogen, which then increases your risk of breast cancer,” Snook added.
They recommend monthly breast self exams.
“Definitely things to look for are changes in your skin — itching, burning, tingling, sudden pain onset in the breast area, any type of nipple inversion or discharge and kind of retraction in the breast area. And then, definitely lumps or bumps in your breast or underarm area,” said Snook.
The Freeman Medical Focus was sponsored by Freeman Health System.