Added: Thu. Jan 03, 2013 8:41am
Since its inception in 1985, Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM)
takes place annually in the month of October. A nationally recognized
and organized health campaign, BCAM highlights multiple aspects of
breast cancer and how it affects those who live with the disease, as
well as their families. Additionally and as importantly, BCAM stresses
the importance of early detection, which can lead to a better prognosis,
the proper course of breast cancer treatment and save lives.
overwhelming is the disease that several powerful groups and entities
have merged and continually collaborate to bring awareness to many
facets of breast cancer, as well as the various means to detect and
fight it. Professional medical associations, national public service
organizations and government agencies working in conjunction to inform
women and men of the risks, detection possibilities and means to fight
this potentially deadly disease.
As approximately 1.3 million women and men of all ages are diagnosed
with breast cancer each year, it's crucial for everyone to consider
examining their family medical history, as well as discussing their
potential risk with their family doctor. While there are some risk
factors that patients cannot control, such as genetics, there are some
proactive steps individuals can take towards prevention:
a healthy weight and lifestyle: Eating a nutritious and balanced diet
and exercising to maintain a healthy weight are good recommendations for
anyone, but those with a family history of breast cancer would be
especially wise to adhere to this basic lifestyle choice. This is
particularly true for women who have gone through menopause since most
of a woman's estrogen is derived from fat cells and can raise the
chances of developing breast cancer.
Researchers have found that high concentrations of tobacco smoke,
particularly in women who began smoking at a young age, increase the
risk of breast cancer.
Limit consumption of alcohol: For
moderate drinkers -- those who take in one drink a day -- may be exposed
to a slightly greater risk of developing breast cancer. Those who have
two to five or more drinks a day are at a much greater risk.
aware of the risks and your family medical history: Both women and men
should investigate their family history, as much as possible. If other
family members have developed breast cancer, potentially at-risk people
can start being vigilant about their own health sooner. Having an open
dialogue with a primary care physician about risks is also a good course
Breast self-exams: Women especially should learn to perform breast exams
when young and do them on a monthly basis. A family doctor can help
begin this practice and teach her patients how to note any
irregularities, such as lumps. Once a woman turns 40, an annual
mammogram can help screen against the disease.
preventative efforts and detection resources, breast cancer sometimes
still develops. Support from organizations involved with BCAM, however,
help women and men with the disease realize they are not alone in their