Five things you should know about breast cancer

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alyssa M. Akers
  • Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

This October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign designed to educate people on the disease.

As members of Team Minot gathered in support of the campaign at a luncheon October 17, here are five things people learned about breast cancer.

1. Diagnostics

More than 3.25 million women in the United States are living in the aftermath of a breast cancer diagnosis, whether they’ve been treated or are still undergoing treatment. If you or someone you know are currently going through this, you are not alone. There are hundreds of support groups online to help those in need.

2. Know the risk factors

One in every eight women may get breast cancer in their lifetime. Risk increases with age, having a personal or family history of breast, ovarian or prostate cancer, not having children before the age of 35 as well as not breastfeeding. Having high levels of estrogen in your system, which can occur with being overweight among other factors, is yet another risk.

3. Know the warning signs

Not everyone is going to experience the same warning signs. While some people may see or feel physical signs, breast cancer can be asymptomatic and appear on a mammogram before a lump can be felt or any changes are seen on the skin. While these signs can be found in other benign conditions, they should be checked by a healthcare professional.

4. Mammograms and know your body

Screening for breast cancer is important to finding it in the early stages. Women over the age of 40 have the option to start mammogram screening every year, but ages 45 and above should get a mammogram annually, as long as the woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer. People should be familiar with how their body normally feels so they are better able to notice a lump or any other changes during a routine self-breast examination.

5. Breast cancer can target men

Men can get breast cancer as well, although it is approximately 100 times less common than in women. Men should ensure they’re checking themselves and don’t delay seeing a doctor if any signs or symptoms are discovered.

For more information or additional questions, please reach out to the Women’s Health Clinic at the 5th Medical Group at (701)723-5339.