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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 1, 2012
The Daily News

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the U.S. in 2012 including 7,710 Michigan women or 21 women in the state every day.

The American Cancer Society offers help and support to those diagnosed with breast cancer and their loved ones 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In fact, one out of every two women turns to the Society for help and support following their breast cancer diagnosis.

This October, the Society will be using National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to remind women about the importance of breast health.

"The American Cancer Society encourages all women to put their health first. We want women to understand the benefits of eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and limiting alcohol intake, and the effect those healthy habits can have on lowering their cancer risk," said Alicia Gardner, Michigan Health Initiatives director at the American Cancer Society.

Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in women, second only to lung cancer.

The society is reminding women 40 and older to have a yearly mammogram and clinical breast exam.

Women ages 20 to 39 should receive a clinical breast exam at least once every three years.

The American Cancer Society offers a Michigan Mammography Facility Guide that compares services, price and other information to help women choose the mammography facility best suited for them.

The Michigan Mammography Facility Guide is available for free online at www.cancer.org/michiganmammogram.

"More than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors will celebrate a birthday this year thanks to early detection and improved treatment," Gardner said. "The five-year survival rate is 99% for breast cancer that is diagnosed in the earliest stages."

The American Cancer Society is the most effective breast cancer-fighting organization in the world, spending more on breast cancer research than on any other cancer type and playing an important part in many major breast cancer research breakthroughs in the past century, including demonstrating that mammography is an effective screening test for breast cancer, the development of Tamoxifen and Herceptin, and knowledge that genetics, poor diet, lack of exercise and moderate drinking increase a person's cancer risk.

The society offers newly diagnosed women and those living with breast cancer a variety of programs and services to help them in their breast cancer experience. American Cancer Society programs include:

- Reach To Recovery, where volunteers who are breast cancer survivors themselves offer one-on-one emotional support to newly diagnosed patients from the perspective of someone who has survived breast cancer.

- Look Good Feel Better is for women who are in active cancer treatment. They learn beauty techniques to cope with the appearance-related side effects of their treatment. Certified cosmetologists provide tips on makeup, skin care, nail care and head coverings. Recurring sessions of this program take place at many local cancer centers and hospitals.

- The society offers free information to help make treatment decisions and access to its programs 24/7 through 1-800-227-2345 or cancer.org.

- Wig Banks, where your American Cancer Society works with local salons to provide wigs, hats, and turbans to people who are undergoing cancer treatment. Wigs are fitted and styled by a licensed cosmetologist, free-of-charge.

- Personal Health Manager is a free divided folder tool with information and resources specific to your diagnosis and treatment that allows you to organize materials, insurance information, test results and medical bills as well as write notes about your appointments, treatments, and questions for your health care provider.

- Road to Recovery is a free service to assist cancer patients with transportation to and from treatment and medical appointments.

- The Hope Lodge in Grand Rapids offers patients and their caregivers free lodging for those receiving treatment far from home.

- Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program is a partnership with departments of community health, where breast and cervical cancer screenings are offered at low or no cost to eligible women.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, different people have different warning signs for breast cancer.

Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all. A person may find out they have breast cancer after a routine mammogram.

Some warning signs of breast cancer are:

- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).

- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.

- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.

- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.

- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.

- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.

- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.

- Pain in any area of the breast.

Keep in mind that some of these warning signs can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.

If you have any signs that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away, CDC officials said.

 
 

 

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