Take steps to fight breast cancer diagnosis

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After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. In fact, one in eight women will develop breast cancer. And with October designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this is a great time to bring attention to this disease. At Wilson Medical Center, we want all of the women in our community to understand their risk, be alert to the signs and symptoms and recognize the crucial role that healthy lifestyles and early detection play.

What are the risk factors?

Among the risk factors for breast cancer, aging is probably the largest. Most breast cancers are found in women age 50 and up. Other risk factors include having a family history of breast cancer, a lack of physical activity and excess weight or obesity after menopause, among others. And while most breast cancer is found in older women, it’s important to remember that most women have some risk factors, including younger women. Women under 45 account for about 11 percent of all new U.S. cases.

What are the symptoms?

Breast cancer symptoms can come in different forms, and some women with breast cancer have no signs or symptoms. Warning signs can include a new lump in the breast or armpit, thickening or swelling of part of the breast, breast skin irritation, breast pain and discharge other than breast milk. If any signs or symptoms are present, you should see your doctor right away.

What can I do?

The great news is that there are things you can do to help reduce your risk for breast cancer and fight it through early detection. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, limited alcohol intake and avoiding exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer are all great ways to help not only lower your risk, but increase your chance at survival if cancer occurs.

Breast cancer screenings are an excellent first line of defense in the fight against breast cancer. Early detection means easier treatment. The best way to detect breast cancer is with a mammogram. Clinical breast exams and self-exams are also good secondary methods for identifying warning signs such as lumps or breast pain. You should talk with your doctor about the best methods for breast cancer screenings and how often you should be tested.

Breast cancer is a very real risk for women, but reducing your risk through a healthy lifestyle and early detection through regular screenings can equip you in the fight against it.

Wilson Outpatient Imaging Center located at 1711 Medical Park Drive offers 2D and 3D mammography. 3D mammography is an advanced, clinically proven technology designed for early breast cancer detection.

This technology allows physicians to see breast abnormalities in ways never before possible. Our Genius 3D Mammography exam is the only mammogram that detects 20 to 65 percent more invasive breast cancers compared to 2D alone.

If you need a screening mammogram, call 252-399-8900 to schedule yours today. You do not need a physician’s order to schedule a screening mammogram ,and we welcome walk-ins from 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday. You’ll also receive same-day mammography results.

We’re celebrating all month long with a Think Pink photo contest (visit wilsontimes.com for more information), a Girls Night Out event on Oct. 19 at Blissful Boutique, a pink prize giveaway at Wilson Outpatient Imaging Center and several drawings and pink promotions at Wilson Medical Center’s Friendly Expressions gift shop. Visit wilsonmedical.com for more information.

Lisa Skinner is the Radiology Services manager at Wilson Medical Center.