October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and health officials are spreading information about the potentially deadly disease.
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breastgrow out of control. After skin cancer, it is the most common cancerin American women, but it can also affect men.
In 2009 211,731 women were diagnosed with breast cancer; 40,676 women died of breast cancer.
In 2009 2,001 men were diagnosed; 400 died.
There are ways to catch it early, thus improving odds of survival. Perform a self-examination, go to regular checkups where a health care provider performs an exam, and schedule mammograms at least every other year upon reaching 50 years of age (this may need to be more frequent for higher risk patients).
Breast cancer warning signs include:
- A lump or pain in the breast
- Thickening or swelling
- Irritation or dimpling
- Redness or flaky skin
- Pulling in of nipple or pain in nipple area
- Fluid, other than breast milk
- A change in size or shape
Health officials advise individuals to trust themselves; if it doesn't seem right, get it checked out.
If cost is a factor when deciding whether or not to get an exam, discuss options with your health careprovider. They may be able to advise on a program to help.