Every October, the staff at PGOMG comes together to raise awareness for breast cancer by educating our patients about prevention, early detection, and risk factors.
Am I at risk for breast cancer?
Risk factors for illness are not set in stone. Many women who may meet certain breast cancer risk factors will never develop the disease, while others who may have been deemed low risk do develop it. This being said, it’s still important to consider risk factors as part of a plan for early detection and prevention.
Some risk factors for cancer, including breast cancer, are linked to lifestyle choices and habits like tobacco use or alcohol consumption. It’s very important to discuss your concerns for breast cancer risk with your provider, as there are many misconceptions about how women develop breast cancer. For example, there have been disproven studies on whether wearing a bra can cause cancer or if using certain types of deodorant that contain aluminum increase the risk.
Of course, there are risk factors that women unfortunately cannot change. These include age, as the risk of breast cancer increases as women grow older, and genetics, as certain genes like the BRCA gene are believed to contribute to breast cancer. Learn more about testing for breast cancer and ovarian cancer genes.
How early detection works
It’s true that there is no set way to prevent breast cancer, but paying close attention to risk factors, maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, and participating in early detection screenings can go a long way. One method of early detection can be performed from the comfort and privacy of your own home – the breast self-exam.
Breast self-exams are an opportunity to screen for changes in breast tissue and behavior, such as a lump, swelling, puckering, discoloration, or other unusual changes. There are many reasons why changes to breasts may occur, such as hormones, menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, but any abnormalities to the breast’s usual appearance will need to be discussed with a PGOMG provider as soon as possible in order to rule out a health concern. PGOMG has created an easy guide to performing a breast self-exam, which can be found here.
Please make an appointment with PGOMG today to discuss breast cancer risk factors, early detection, or breast cancer education.