October is all about Breast Cancer Awareness, but before you hurry off, please take a minute to read this article. It will serve you well.
After lung cancer, breast cancer is the second most popular cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. Although death rates are rapidly decreasing among white women, it is still relatively high among women of other races and ethnicity.
Predominantly, black women have the highest breast cancer death rate of all race and ethnic groups and are 40% likely to die from breast cancer than white women. This is because black women tend to have more aggressive cancers. Another reason for this is that black women have lower access to social and economic resources necessary for managing this condition.
In order to tackle this problem, there is a need for more timely follow-up and improved access to high-quality treatment.
Some breast cancer signs to be aware of:
It is better to catch this disease in its early stages. Some warning signs include:
- A lump in the breast
- Continuous pain in the breast area that does not go away, and
- Some sort of hardening or thickening around the breast and armpit.
Most importantly, it is good for women to know what is normal for them and be aware of changes in their breast and its surrounding areas.
Self-Breast Examination should be performed every morning in front of a mirror to catch any breast changes as soon as they arise.
If the cancer was not caught early, some patients may experience
- Bone pain
- Weakened bones
if the cancer has already spread.
Please note that sometimes, there is often little or no warning signs in breast cancer. It is therefore important that women over the age of 35 should go on routine mammograms.
Differences in screening, follow-up, and treatment
Screening- this means to look for cancer before the symptoms start to manifest and mammograms are usually the best way to check for cancer in the breast. A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast.
Records show that more black women are found to have breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast (45%) compared with white women (35%).
Follow-up-When a mammogram reveals that there is an abnormality; follow-up tests are necessary to determine if it is cancer. Delaying follow-up care may lead to a spread in cancers thereby leading to more complications.
Treatment- when cancer has been identified in any part of the body, treatment should commence immediately. Studies show that only 69% of black women start treatment within 30 days in comparison to 83% of white women. Also, compared to white women, fewer black women undergo necessary surgery, radiation, and hormone treatments.
Precautions to take
In order to lessen the risk of breast cancer, women can take the following precautions
- Keeping weight in check
- Being physically active
- Eating fruits and vegetables
- Avoiding alcohol and smoking
- Breastfeeding, if possible
- Avoiding birth control pills especially when above age 35
- Avoiding post-menopausal hormones
It is also important that women find out their family history and ensure regular screening.
Learn how to perform Self Breast Examination here
About the Flying Doctors Nigeria Air Ambulance Service
The Flying Doctors Nigeria is a leading air ambulance company covering West and Central Africa. For patients that have overwhelmed the level of care available in their local environment, air ambulances are essential for transferring these patients to better levels of care.
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