National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign put on by the National Breast Cancer Foundation to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer and breast cancer research. The goal of the foundation is to eradicate breast cancer through prevention, education, and early detection. We at CORA would like to do the same.

Inspired by National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Here Are a Few Things You Can Do Help Fight Breast Cancer:

Get Educated

The National Breast Cancer Foundation was formed to educate women about breast cancer. As breast cancer affects one in eight women, one of the most important things an individual can do is take the time to educate themselves about it. For instance, did you know that your risk of getting breast cancer is increased if you are Caucasian, over the age of 55, or have a family member who has had breast cancer?

There are also several lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of breast cancer. If you started menstruation before the age of 12, started menopause after the age of 55, had a child later in life, or never had a child, your risk of developing breast cancer increases. Likewise, there are several genetic factors that can increase your chances. Gene mutations (such as BRCA1 and BRCA2) or dense breast tissue can be contributing factors. Read this guide to learn more and assess your risk.

Learn Early Detection Methods

Thankfully, there are several things you and your family members can do to detect breast cancer earlier. One way is to perform monthly breast exams in the comfort of your own home. While you are in the shower, move your fingers around your breasts in a circular motion. If you notice lumps, knots, or changes in how the breast or nipple looks or feels, schedule a physical with your physician.

During a clinical exam, your doctor may take a visual scan of the breast, followed by a manual exam. In both cases, they will look for physical abnormalities that need to be investigated further. Generally, what they are looking for are small, pea-sized lumps that move around easily. Though it is important to be aware of changes in your breasts, there is need to panic; 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous and pose no cause for concern.

Get a Mammogram

Though self-exams are an important part of maintaining your breast health, the most beneficial thing any woman can do to catch cancer early is get a mammogram. Mammograms are x-rays that can detect cancerous tumors before they can be felt. No matter your age, if you have any risk factors for developing breast cancer, it is important to get a mammogram regularly. If you are over the age of 40, you should get a mammogram every 1-2 years regardless of whether or not you are experiencing any symptoms or abnormalities.

At CORA we provide a variety of imaging services including 3D mammograms, breast MRIs, and breast ultrasounds. Our advanced 3D imaging options allow us to detect 41% more invasive breast cancers by taking pictures of the breast from every angle. We are the only breast center of excellence certified in all types of breast imaging by the ACR. Schedule an appointment—getting a mammogram is one of the most important things you can do for your breast health during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.