Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Part 2)

October 8, 2015


Did you know breast cancer is a global burden? According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernization. In continuation of the series recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness month, this column will stress the importance of performing regular breast self-exams. Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month. Johns Hopkins Medical center states, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”

While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes. The difference between a self-exam and a clinical exam is a clinical breast exam is performed by a healthcare professional that is trained to recognize many different types of abnormalities and warning signs. This in-office exam will most likely be completed by your family physician or gynecologist at your annual exam, whereas your breast self-exam is something every woman should do once month at home.

Although you cannot prevent cancer, some habits that can help reduce your risk are:

1. Maintain a healthy weight

2. Stay physically active

3. Eat fruits and vegetables

4. Do not smoke

5. Limit alcohol consumption There is good news about breast cancer trends.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., reports in recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, there has been a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part due to screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options. Beloved, there are women all around you: at work, living next door to you, part of your social media contact list, part of your circle of “sister-girls,” in your family circle, etc., who need your prayers for a health related illness. Commit to praying for women who have been diagnosed with any form of cancer as well as for cancer survivors.