Breast cancer affects millions of women worldwide. October has been designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Let’s take a moment to increase our awareness, educate, support survivors, and emphasize the importance of early detection through breast cancer screening.
Understanding Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a malignant growth of cells that typically starts in the milk ducts or lobules of the breast. It can occur in both women and men, though it’s significantly more common in women. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer is the most common cancer among women globally.
Dr. Moore’s Key Recommendations for Breast Cancer Prevention:
- Screening: Early detection is crucial in the battle against breast cancer. The earlier the cancer is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment and recovery. Two key screening methods are:
- Mammograms: A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray of the breast tissue. It can detect breast cancer in its earliest stages, often before it can be felt through self-examination. Women are encouraged to start getting regular mammograms at the age of 40, and earlier if they have a family history of breast cancer.
- Clinical Breast Exams: Clinical breast exams are done by a physician. They palpate the breast tissue, chest wall and arm pit to feel for signs of lumps, changes in size, shape, or texture. (Self-breast-examinations are also a simple way of home screening that can be done by women of all ages. They can be done at least once a month and any changes to tissue texture can be reported to your healthcare provider).
- Get your insulin and blood sugar in check: While screening is important, we cannot rely on this alone. One of the most under recognized risk factors for cancer is metabolic dysregulation. Recent studies have shown that metabolic syndrome and its related components are linked with a significant impact on the initiation, progression, treatment response, and prognosis of breast cancer. Have your doctor help you assess your blood sugar, insulin levels, cholesterol, liver health, abdominal fat and weight, and then come up with a plan to get your metabolism in check.
- Support your mental emotional health: Sleep issues and high stress are also under recognized in breast cancer prevention and treatment. Chronic stress weakens the immune system. A low functioning immune system increases susceptibility to disease and infection. Some studies have suggested that short and long sleep duration are associated with increased breast cancer incidence and worse treatment outcomes. If you are not sleeping well or your stress is chronically high, work with your provider to help address this. Many patients will benefit from deep breathing, meditation, counselling, acupuncture, Staying connected with others, social support, exercise and optimizing sleep hygine practices. The best strategy is one that is individualized your particular needs.
With increased awareness, healthy lifestyle habits and early detection through breast cancer screening, you can make a significant impact in reducing your risk.
Spread the word, encourage regular screenings, and remember that together, we can empower individuals to take control of their health. We are here to help! For information on our cancer prevention strategies, or cancer care support, please contact our office firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share this Post