Every October people around the globe wear pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The work of breast cancer research and screening is year-round, but historically a particular emphasis has been placed in October.
In some parts of the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed breast cancer screenings for the majority of this year. As things have started to re-open in most areas screening has once again become a possibility. This is why it is so important to take the opportunity now to schedule a screening (even if the next available appointment is months away).
Know the symptoms
For the most detailed information on symptoms, it is recommended that you view the CDC’s list of symptoms.
Common symptoms include:
- Change in size or shape of the breast
- Pain in any portion of the breast
- Nipple discharge (can include blood)
- New lump in the breast or underarm
Work to lower your breast cancer risk
Maintaining a healthy weight can go a long way in lowering your risk of any type of cancer.
A key reason breast cancer develops is because of changes in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. If you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, talk to your provider about the risks associated with these products.
Who should receive screening for breast cancer?
The official recommendation from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force is that women 50 to 74 years old receive a mammogram every two years. If you are younger than 50, particularly those in the 40 to 49 age category, should discuss with their providers at their annual visit if they should receive a screening sooner.
For more information on the types of screenings available, read the CDC’s guide.