While breast cancer is not specifically related to aging, we tend to become more concerned about our risk of cancer as we do our best to “age gracefully.” During this annual “Breast Cancer Awareness” month, we believe that the known recommendations for early detection and prevention bear repeating for all of us to remain “aware” by staying informed.
According to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure website:
Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it can be successfully treated. Screening tests can find cancer early, when it’s most treatable.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure® recommends that you:
1. Know your risk
Talk to your family to learn about your family health history
Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer
2. Get screened
Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk
Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40
3. Know what is normal for you
See your health care provider if you notice any of these breast changes:
Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
Change in the size or shape of the breast
Dimpling or puckering of the skin
Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
4. Make healthy lifestyle choices
Maintain a healthy weight
Add exercise into your routine
Limit alcohol intake
Limit postmenopausal hormone use
Breastfeed, if you can
This information is located – http://www.komennyc.org/site/PageServer?pagename=breasthealth_awareness
It is medically recommended that we have regular screenings for many common types of cancer. Sometimes we can avoid having regular exams because we are afraid that the doctor will find something. It is good to remember that not all lumps, bumps, and tumors are cancerous, or malignant. It is also key to remember that detection brings about choices and options, not the disease itself. Knowledge is always power and time is in your favor when you screen.
If you have health care concerns for you or your loved ones, our Care Managers may be able to help. Give us a call at 504-828-0900.
Geriatric Care Manager Cathy Puett, LCSW has been providing Geriatric Care Manager services with Home Care Solutions for over seven years. Cathy has worked as a medical and psychiatric social worker for 23 years with a focus on gerontology.