It is the second leading cause of death for women in the United States. Studies estimate that one in eight women will get it and one in 35 will die from it.
Breast cancer is a type of cancer where cells in the breast tissue separate and grow without normal control. It is an extensive disease that can affect women and even men of all ages and races, according to www.komenslc.org.
Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the world today. More than 1.3 million people are diagnosed each year world wide.
A list of risk factors and lifestyle choices that are linked to breast cancer can be found on www.cancer.org. Women who have their first child after age 30 have a higher risk as well as women who use birth control, according to studies. As stated by the American Cancer Society, being pregnant sveral times, breast-feeding and exercise can help reduce the risk of getting breast cancer.
UVU Health Services is providing students with breast exams during October. The exams are free in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and students are attended to with or without insurance when it is at UVU Health Services. Utah County Health Center also participates.
Esme Anderson, nurse practitioner at UVU Health Services, said the chance of breast cancer spreading is preventable. “The earlier the stage of the disease is detected, the greater the survival rate is,” Anderson said .
Although it is more common for women over the age of 35 to get breast exams, it is recommended that all women over the age of 20 and even men, as well, perform a breast self-exam once a month to detect any problems as early as possible.
The most common sign of breast cancer is a lump or new section of mass in the breast. The lump is hard and painless; however, in some forms of cancer the lump can be tender and soft. Anything unusual should be checked out immediately.
Other signs of breast cancer can include swelling of all or part of the breast, breast pain, nipple pain, redness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin and/or nipple discharge other than breast milk.
The nurses at UVU Health Services teach students how to conduct a self-exam to those who would like to learn. There are also pamphlets available that explain the process.
Because one percent of breast cancer cases are diagnosed in men, it is recommended by health officials that they, too, conduct self-exams once a month.
The pamphlet states that it is helpful to perform a self-exam on oneself because one can learn what their breasts normally feel like, changes can be found early, it’s quick, easy and free, it can be done in the comfort of one’s home, and it ensures that one’s breasts are checked 12 times a year.