Think Pink: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

takeaction_infographic_africanamericanGet ready to see lots of pink!

The American Cancer Society has designated October “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” and SHS wants to make sure you’re in the know.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, affecting one in eight women in the United States, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It’s the second-leading cause of cancer death in women.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages women to learn about their family medical history because some women are at a higher risk for breast cancer because of genetic factors.

Getting a screening or mammogram regularly can lower the risk of death from breast cancer.

Most women with average risk – that is, women without a specific family or genetic history of breast cancer – should talk with their provider about when to start screenings and how frequently to get them.

For average-risk women from 50 to 74 years old, the recommended screening is every two years.

From Monday, Oct. 16, to Friday, Oct. 20, getting a mammogram is even easier.

If it’s been at least a year since your last screening, you are 40 years or older and have a provider’s order for a mammogram, you can walk in for a regular screening during these hours:

  • 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
  • 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday

Regular fees apply.

Bobby Mickens, SHS Interim Director of Nursing and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, notes that mammograms are covered by most health insurance programs.

Women who don’t have insurance may be eligible for other programs that cover mammograms. She encourages women to talk with providers about any concerns about breast cancer.

“Breast health is part of our regular well-women visits and it is a topic I like to raise with all my women patients,” she said. “I want every woman to know her own breasts, so if you see something abnormal you recognize it and contact us.”

SHS provides a full range of women’s health services including mammograms, well-woman exams, family planning and pre-natal care. To make an appointment, call 816-923-5800.


Men: You are NOT Exempt

You might not realize that men also have breast tissue and can be diagnosed with breast cancer.

After all, cancer can appear in nearly any cells, including those in the tissue around a man’s nipples.

The American Cancer Society says breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than women. Men have a one in 1,000 chance of getting breast cancer. In 2017, according to the American Cancer Society, about:

  • 2,470 new cases of breast cancer in men will be diagnosed
  • 500 men will die from breast cancer

Men’s symptoms of breast cancer are the same as women’s, including an abnormal lump or swelling, or unusual discharge from the nipple.

Sometimes, because men have less breast tissue, the cancer can reach lymph nodes more quickly, even before a lump can be detected. That’s why it’s important to be aware.

Men, if you see any breast changes, talk with a health care professional.

We are available: call 816-923-5800 for an appointment.

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