Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital

 

Breast Cancer Awareness

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American flag and breast cancer awareness flag flying in the wind.

The causes of breast cancer are still unknown, but early detection, screenings, and lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the risk of developing the disease.

By Ana Hinkle, RN
Monday, October 1, 2012

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  It is a month dedicated to promoting breast health in both women and men.  Currently, there are 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.  It is estimated that 1 in 8 women and 1 in 1,000 men will develop breast cancer in their lifetime (American Cancer Society, 2012).  The causes of breast cancer are still unknown, but early detection, screenings and lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the risk of developing the disease.

Get Recommended Screenings

Early detection is important.  Treatment is most successful when breast cancer is diagnosed in its early stages.  Women need to know their risks for breast cancer and learn how to do a monthly breast self-exam.  Women should also have a regular clinical breast exam and mammogram.  The VA encourages all women ages 50 to 74 years old to have a mammogram every two years.  Women ages 40 to 49, and those older than 75, need to talk with their health care providers about their individual needs for a mammogram.

Breast Cancer in Men

Breast cancer in men is much harder to detect.  Men need to know their risk factors for the disease.  They can lower their risk by maintaining an ideal weight, limiting alcohol intake and by avoiding certain types of jobs.  Men should talk with their doctors at the first appearance of a lump or any sign of breast swelling.  The discovery of any discharge or any change in breast size or appearance should also be discussed.

Help Create Awareness

The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed in its fight against breast cancer.  Staff and Veterans are encouraged to wear pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness on October 16.  Truman VA invites you to visit the educational booth sponsored by the American Cancer Society on October 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Veterans, you can join the fight against breast cancer by talking to your health care provider about your risk and by taking advantage of the screenings available at VA.

Early detection saves lives.  Let VA help!

Brought to you by the Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program