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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This is a time for all of us to consider how serious this cancer is and what we can do to detect and prevent it.

Did you know that breast cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women? Did you know that breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native women?

Each year more than 200,000 women and 1,700 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, nearly 41,000 women die from breast cancer each year. Although it is more commonly found in women, men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer. The key to prevention is early detection.

Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow inside the breast. In its early stages, breast cancer usually will not have any symptoms which is why breast self exams are important for early detection. If you notice or feel lumps or pains during a self exam, especially those that don't feel normal, or if you should notice any changes in the way your breasts look or feel, this can be a sign and you should contact your primary care manager.

If a lump is found, there are a number of ways to identify breast cancer in the medical facility. Some of the most common ways are mammograms, ultrasounds and magnetic resonance imaging. Having regular mammograms can lower your risk of developing breast cancer. If you are 40 years old or older, have a screening mammogram performed every one to two years. Talk to your PCM if you have any breast symptoms or changes in your breast, or if breast cancer runs in your family. Your PCM may recommend that you have mammograms before age 40 or more often than usual. Remember, early detection through a mammogram is the most effective way to identify breast cancer.

Other ways to reduce risk include controlling your weight through exercise and healthy food choices; knowing your family history of breast cancer - if your mother, sister or daughter has breast cancer, ask your doctor what your risk of getting breast cancer is and how you can lower that risk; hormone replacement therapy if you are post-menopausal; and limiting the amount of alcohol you drink.

For more information about breast cancer by visit www.thebreastcancersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=2 or www.nationalbreastcancer.org/about-breast-cancer/Risk-Factors.aspx, or call your PCM nurse.