Whether you are newly diagnosed, supporting a loved one, or getting ready for a breast exam, here are breast cancer basics in 8 SIMPLE STEPS
Understand the Risks You Share with Other Women
It probably comes as no surprise that being a woman is the greatest risk factor associated with breast cancer. Yes, men can get breast cancer, too, and they account for only 1% of cases diagnosed annually. Other general risk factors relate to age and certain ethnic backgrounds.
Know Your Own Risk Factors
Your personal breast cancer risk is based on many specific factors. Some are biological, like gender or age, others are lifestyle related and can be managed. Knowing your own unique set of risk factors is a critical step of being proactive when it comes to your breast health.
Take Actions to Lower Your Risk
Many breast cancer risk factors are in your control, including those related to diet, alcohol and hormone replacement use, tobacco consumption and exposure to certain environmental elements. Talk to your doctor about your personal breast cancer risk and what steps you can take to lower that risk.
Use Screening Strategies Most Appropriate for Your Risk Level
Confused by screening guidelines and media headlines? You're not alone. That's why it's so important to know your risk factors and your body. Armed with this information, a doctor can help you to determine when to start screening, how often to screen and what screening tests to use.
Understand Early Detection
Experts generally agree that the earlier a breast cancer is found, the better the chances for a positive outcome. Yet, the diagnostic tools and screening processes are not perfect. Each person should consult with their doctor to determine the screening plan that is best for them and follow their doctor's recommendation every year.
Learn How Biopsies Help Confirm a Diagnosis
Advanced diagnostic tests are identifying breast abnormalities earlier than ever before. Sometimes the results of these imaging tests lead physicians to recommend a breast biopsy. The choice of biopsy type depends on factors such as tumor size and location, how suspicious the tumor looks, other medical problems you might have and your personal preference. Consult with a physician to determine the breast biopsy option that best meets your health needs.
Understand Your Options After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis
The period following a breast cancer diagnosis is about education, options and decisions. You need to partner with your doctor and learn as much as possible about your type of breast cancer, specific telltale “markers” and treatment options.
Take Action for Your Best Possible Outcome, Physically and Emotionally
Many types of support are available to you. Learn about resources to help you face daily challenges related to work, family care, even transportation to medical appointments, as well as options for counseling and financial assistance.
KNOW YOUR RISKS. KNOW YOUR BODY. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.