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What Every Woman Should Know About Breast Cancer

What Every Woman Should Know About Breast Cancer

Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or a colleague, almost everyone knows someone who’s had breast cancer. It’s the second most common cancer in women (skin cancer is No. 1), and every woman is at risk. 

At Obstetricians & Gynecologists, PC, we’ve been providing comprehensive primary care and OB/GYN services for women for more than 30 years in Hastings and Grand Island, Nebraska. We manage everything from birth control to pregnancy to menopause, focusing on how we can improve women’s health and well-being. 

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to tell you everything you should know about breast cancer. 

Warning signs of breast cancer

You know your body better than anyone else, including the way your breasts normally look and feel. A new lump is the most common symptom of breast cancer. Though, for the record, not all breast lumps are cancerous. If you feel or notice a breast lump, it’s time to schedule an evaluation.

Other warning signs of breast cancer include:

Like the lump, these symptoms may not mean you have cancer. But they’re definitely not symptoms you should ignore. 

When to schedule your screening

Your risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older. It’s important to know when you should start screenings for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) says women can start breast cancer screening at age 40 if they want to, but should start annual mammograms at age 45. Once women reach 55, ACS recommends screenings every two years. 

You may need to start breast cancer screenings at an earlier age if you have risk factors like a family history of breast cancer. The earlier you find breast cancer, the easier it is to treat, increasing your chances of a complete recovery.

How to reduce your risk

Many factors influence your risk of breast cancer, some you can control, others you can’t. Taking steps to manage the controllable risk factors may reduce your risk of breast cancer, including:

Creating a healthy lifestyle may also improve your chances of winning the fight against breast cancer during treatment.

Breast cancer treatment options

Advances in breast cancer research have led to new treatment options, like hormone therapy (to block cancer cells from getting hormones needed to grow) and biological therapy (working with your immune system to fight off the cancer). Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are still used.

There’s no single best treatment for breast cancer, and health care providers work as a team to help women get treatment that can give them the best outcomes.

Breast cancer is treatable. Knowing what to look for and getting regular screenings can save your life. 

If you have concerns about breast health, we can help. Call the office convenient to you, or request an appointment online today.

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