The Importance of Breast Health During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
With October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now is a great time to talk about the importance of breast self-awareness, mammograms and early detection.
Breast self-awarenessis the most convenient way for a woman to detect any physical or visual changes to her breast tissue. Often times, this is how women find changes in their breasts that lead them to see their doctor for a more thorough exam.
Physicians specializing in women’s health will always support these exams because they are quick, convenient, easy and can be done in the comfort of your home. Committing to regular self-exams will help women learn what is normal for their breasts, so that when something doesn’t look or feel right, they can report it to their doctor immediately.
Mammograms are low-dose radiation breast x-rays that allow radiologists to see if there are any changes in breast tissue. Women under the age of 50 typically do not need mammograms unless there is family history of breast cancer or other risk factors. Once women are between the ages of 50 - 74, they are encouraged to have mammograms every other year.
Mammograms are an extremely important part of a woman’s health. They can display breast changes long before a woman or her physician can feel them - which is why they are so well-known for early detection, at a stage when cancer is most treatable.
Having a mammogram can be frightening, but you don’t need to worry. The x-rays are done in about 20 minutes and only cause minimal discomfort. If you believe you may experience anxiety while waiting for results, do some research. There are health centers that can provide your results before you head out the door.
Beyond self-examinations and mammograms, many of us overlook the impact that leading an overall healthy lifestyle can have on breast health. Eating wholesome meals that include fruits and vegetables and exclude sugars and fried foods can significantly reduce the risk of breast-related health issues. Further, reducing alcohol consumption can lead to a reduced risk of not only breast cancer but many other health complications. Finally, studies show that getting a full night’s sleep each night and coping with stress in healthy manners helps to regulate a body and reduce the likelihood of diseases like breast cancer.
At SIHF Healthcare, the board-certified family medicine providers, nurse practitioners, and physician assistantsare committed towomen’s health and safety. Patients can rely on a team of medical professionals to answer questions while providing wellness, prevention and education in each appointment. New patients are always accepted; find a family medicine provider near you by visiting www.sihf.org