Cancer is the leading cause of death around the world. Every year, approximately 12.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer and 7.6 million of them will die from the disease.
For World Cancer Day in 2017, individuals and organizations are adopting the “We can. I can” approach to cancer. This means that organizations and individuals will both do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in females worldwide. In fact, it accounts for 16 percent of all female cancers and 18.2 percent of all cancer deaths. Breast cancer risk can be increased by several factors such as age, genetics, dense breast tissue and unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Typically, the first sign of breast cancer is a lump of thickened breast tissue. In most cases, lumps are not cancerous, but it should always be examined by a medical professional to be sure. Women should visit the doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms:
- A lump in the breast.
- A noticeable change in size or shape of the breast.
- Changes in the skin on the breast. (bumpiness, dimples, redness, etc).
- A change in the color or feel of the nipple or skin around the nipple.
Breast Cancer Detection
Like most cancers, early detection is key.
Women are encouraged to perform a breast self-exam once a month. This will help to identify and changes in the breast between annual medical appointments. Learn how to perform a breast self-exam.
During your annual exam, the physician will check both breasts for lumps, color changes and other possible abnormalities. This exam can be performed at any age.
Beginning around age 40 to 50, a doctor may choose to perform a mammogram. This test uses an x-ray to provide a detailed image of internal breast tissue.
“We Can” – What Organizations Can Do
Organizations have the power to positively impact their members and the communities they serve. They are encouraged to:
- Inspire action. By working together, organizations can call on governments and leaders to to push for actions that will reduce premature deaths, improve quality of life and increase survival rates.
- Promote knowledge. Knowledge is power! By equipping the general community with appropriate knowledge of cancer prevention, causes and general lifestyle improvements, individuals will be more likely to make healthy choices.
- Work together. The global cancer burden can be eased when government entities, civil groups and the private sector all work together by adopting common goals to prevent cancer.
- Create healthy schools & workplaces. Creating environments that encourage healthy behaviors will help to reduce the cancer rate over the long-term.
“I Can” – What You Can Do as an Individual
- Make healthy lifestyle choices. Everyone can take steps to reduce their risk of cancer. Simple choices include: quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet and becoming more physically active.
- Understand that early detection saves lives. Be sure to make regular visits to your doctor. They will perform tests and exams that could find abnormalities early in their development. In almost all cases, timely treatment greatly impacts cancer survival rates.
- Ask for / provide support. For those with cancer, never be afraid to ask for emotional and physical support. If your loved one is living with cancer, try to be available to meet their needs. A positive support structure can make all of the difference in the world when coping with the disease.
Contact Women’s Health Partners to schedule your annual gynecology exam or schedule an appointment if you notice changes in your breast health.