October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
NASHVILLE – Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in women in the United States. With nearly 4,700 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in Tennessee every year, the Tennessee Department of Health encourages residents to talk with a health care provider on when to schedule their annual mammograms. Mammography screening should begin no later than age 50.
One in eight women with average risk factors will develop breast cancer. The risk of cancer increases with age. With early detection through screening mammography at recommended intervals, treatment is more effective and the chances of survival are greatest.
“Early detection and regular screenings are critical to fighting breast cancer, the most common cancer diagnosis in women,” said TDH Assistant Commissioner for Family Health and Wellness Morgan McDonald, MD. “It’s important for women to discuss their wishes, risk factors and expectations with their individual health care providers, especially if a family member has had a breast cancer diagnosis, to decide the screening timing and interval that’s right for them.”
Breast cancer can have no symptoms or symptoms may include:
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood)
- New lump in the breast or underarm
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed every year and 40,000 die from breast cancer. While much less common, men account for less than one percent of cases.
Risk factors include:
- Family history of breast cancer
- Being overweight, especially after menopause
- 50 years of age or older
- Previous personal history of cancer (especially breast or ovarian)
- Using hormone replacement therapy for an extended period of time
In addition to recommended screenings, women can also take action to reduce their risk of breast cancer in the following ways:
- Make a habit of regular exercise
- Maintain a healthy diet rich in vegetables
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t consume excessive alcohol
The Tennessee Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program provides screening and diagnostic testing to qualified uninsured and underinsured Tennesseans. TBCSP provides services including mammograms for nearly 8,000 women across the state every year. For more information, go to http://www.tn.gov/health/topic/MCH-cancer.
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at http://www.tn.gov/health.