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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Think Pink, Be Aware.

     October is breast cancer awareness month and what better way to support the cause then to gain some knowledge of your own family history and scheduling a screening. Family history is the best assessment of your risk for the disease. Breast cancer is 80 percent hereditary.

Research shows that fathers play just as big of a role as the females in your family when it comes to the risk of developing breast cancer. Consider aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts, and grandparents from your fathers side of the family who have had breast or ovarian cancer. Even though your paternal medical history is important, you should still include both sides of your family in your research of family medical history for a more accurate assessment.

1. Family Health: Creating a Medical History

Make a chart or a file with all of the most important information when you research your famly history. If you want to get really creative, make a family tree including your siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even nieces and nephews. Here is some of the information you will want to record:

  • Current age, relationship, sex, and ethnic background of family members
  • All medical conditions and age at time of diagnosis
  • Age and cause of death of deceased family members
  • Diseases like breast cancer and ovarian cancer, or diabetes and heart disease, that may be related to each other and run in families.

The significance of a family history of breast cancer increases with:

  1. the number of family members affected
  2.  the younger their ages at diagnosis the closer
  3.  the affected relatives are related to you.

The increase in risk is fairly small unless there are three or more first or second-degree relatives on the same side of the family with breast or ovarian cancer. Bring all of this information with you when you visit your doctor. It is easier for him/her if you have all of the details lined up.

2. Scheduling a screening:

It’s a scary thing to schedule an appointment with your doctor to find out your risk of developing breas t cancer. Don’t think of it as a negative experience. Think of it as a regular checkup. It will be worse if you put it off. Practice prevention and you will have a much better chance at avoiding the disease. To do that, follow this advice:

Where you go matters! Choose a mammography expert: Many studies show that doctors who specialize in mammography are more accurate at interpreting the images when compared to physicians with less experience. Get your mammogram read by a doctor who specializes in reading them.

Go with a support system: Having your first mammogram can be a nail-biting event. A support system to make set you at ease is ideal. Take your mom or your best friend!

 Don’t put off screening because of discomfort: A mammogram should never be painful.Fear that the exam will be uncomfortable is one reason women put off scheduling a mammogram. To reduce discomfort, try to schedule the exam after your monthly period when breast tissue is less sensitive.

Go digital: Centers that specialize in digital mammography, are best for women with dense breast tissue and for women under age 50. Digital scans can do a better job of detecting cancer in these women compared to traditional film mammography.

There are thousands of inspiring women being honored this month for their courageous fight against breast cancer. You may know a few! We cannot be afraid to learn our risks and family history. If they did it, so can you! Share the information you’ve just uncovered with friends, family members and co-workers. It’s breast cancer awareness month, so do your part. Be aware.


2 comments on “Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Think Pink, Be Aware.

  1. Pingback: Sunshine, amirite?! | I'm Your Fan Club

  2. Pingback: Giuliana Rancic Battles Breast Cancer « Blissful Belle

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