News: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
By Michelle Wilkes
Breast Health Coordinator, Naval Hospital Pensacola
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths behind lung cancer among women in the United States. About one in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that in 2013, more than 230,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, but men are susceptible as well. The ACS predicts that more than 2,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.
The two greatest risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and getting older. Early detection with a breast self-exam, clinical breast exam and mammography is the best defense against this disease.
Mammography can detect breast cancer at its earliest state, often long before it can be felt and usually years before physical symptoms appear. The earlier cancer is detected, the less invasive and more successful treatment can be.
The ACS recommends women 40 and older have a screening mammogram every year for as long as they are in good health. Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam at least every three years. Though a monthly breast self-exam is not necessary, it is recommended that women know how their breasts usually look and feel so that they can report changes to their medical provider.
Since breast cancer is so rare in men, no routine screening is recommended. However, if a man notices a lump or a change in the breast, it needs to be evaluated by a physician.
Naval Hospital Pensacola cares about preventing breast cancer and helping those diagnosed to navigate the maze of emotional and medical concerns. For the last 15 years, NHP has had a dedicated Breast Cancer Coordinator available to our patients. NHP was the first hospital in the Pensacola area to provide this service and the first to have a Breast Patient Navigator certified by the National Consortium of Breast Centers on staff.
I encourage all women to take charge of their health care and receive these lifesaving exams! If you are enrolled at Naval Hospital Pensacola, you can call your Medical Home Port Team or Central Appointments at 505-7171 to schedule a mammogram. Mammograms can be scheduled to coincide with other appointments in order to eliminate additional visits to the hospital.
Do it for yourself and for the ones you love. Put your breasts to the test and let's give cancer the shove.