It's that time of the year again, when we see the pink ribbons everywhere. They've become such a prevalent part of every October, that sometimes it's easy to dismiss the importance of thinking about and being screened for breast cancer. Here at Ultimate Bariatrics, we can about your whole health. So we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you a few facts about breast cancer and to remind you, if you are a woman above the age of 40, please reach out to your primary doctor or OBGYN and get scheduled for a mammogram. Also, if you have a history of cancer, especially breast cancer in your family, please speak to your doctor about screenings.
Who is affected by breast cancer?
Breast cancer can affect anyone! It is more common in women over the age of 50 with risk increasing with age. But, older men and younger women get breast cancer too.
Causes and Risks
Breast cancer is caused by a combination of factors that we can control and those that we can't control (which is why screening is so important!) There is no one cause--instead it's a combination of genetics and environment. Some risk factors that are genetic based are age of first mensuration (earlier is a slightly higher risk), age of menopause (later is a slightly higher risk), denser breast tissue, and other genetic predispositions. Lifestyle choices do play an impact as well so it's best to keep active, avoid drinking too much alcohol, maintain a healthy weight, and stop smoking (or, never start!)
If you notice any changes in your breast-- such as lumps, change in color, change in nipple, or changes in size or shape-- make an appointment with your primary doctor to see if it's something you should get checked out. And men, the most common symptom is a lump in the chest area.
For women, sometime between the ages of 40 and 50, your doctor will recommend you schedule a mammogram, even if everything feels normal. That's because sometimes, the cancer isn't noticeable by touch but a mammogram can get a better look. After your first mammogram, it is recommended to have one every 3 years afterwards.
Regardless of age or gender, it's always good to stay aware of your body. If you notice any unusual changes, reach out to your doctor. They can let you know if those changes need further attention or are a normal bodily change.