It’s officially October, and that marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Approximately 1 in 8 US women develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
That’s a scary number for sure, but what can be done about it?
Prevention is key with breast cancer, and it’s imperative to be aware of your health status. The following three steps can help you know your status and detect concerns early:
1. Get screened. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer screening means checking for cancer before signs or symptoms occur. Women can do this by self-screening, MRI’s, and Mammograms.
2. Be open with your doctor. Do you have a history of cancers or diseases in your family? Be sure to be transparent with your health providers so they can be cognizant of any symptoms or tell-tale signs in advance.
3. Live a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet including many fruits and vegetables and limited alcohol in addition to physical activity can lower the chance of getting cancer and other diseases.
While there is no 100% method for prevention, these three tips can go a long way to being aware, and keeping a close check on your health.
This month, and every month of the year, breast cancer patients and survivors need support.
Some great ways to show support (According to Health.com):
1. Listen. While empathy is important, it’s also important to lend an ear without offering advice or speaking up. Every experience is unique, and many times, it means a lot to patients and survivors to feel heard.
2. Give them other survivor’s contact information. Know someone else that is a survivor? Connect the two by asking if they’d like to speak, and then offer phone numbers, email addresses, and other contact info. Sometimes, people need to hear from someone who has had similar struggles.
3. Distract them with surprises. Bring small gifts like flowers, cards, and silly or meaningful gifts. Anything that can be a constant reminder that they’re being thought of.
4. Ask before bringing food. Food is the instinctive gift to give someone, but meals can be overwhelming. Be sure that the person wants or needs food first so you’re not burdening them with another casserole.
5. Don’t disappear. Once the cancer goes into remission or things calm down, the visits and phone calls often fall away. But survivors and patients still need support, no matter how far away they are from their diagnosis. Don’t forget to touch base regularly.
The Mayerson JCC will have The Mercy Health – Mobile Health Mammography Unit on site before the Breast Cancer Speaker Series event on Oct. 27 for mammograms* and education on breast self- examination. Learn more.
*This screening is usually covered by most insurance carriers, but you should verify that Mercy Health and The Jewish Hospital are in-network providers with your insurance carrier. For more information prior to receiving a mammogram from Mercy Health, please call 513-686-3300.