Every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States.
Breast cancer affects nearly everyone around us whether that means that they have survived it themselves, know someone who has, or sadly, know somebody who lost their battle.
One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and a woman’s risk almost doubles if her mother, sister, or daughter has or has had breast cancer.
Beth Harper, manager of Chemo Infusion at Adena Fayette Medical Center, recently spoke with the Record-Herald about early symptoms and breast cancer services offered by Adena.
Symptoms are not the same for everyone and vary between different women. This could be influenced by their body type, genetics, lifestyle choices, and more.
“It can start out as any change in the breast. Some women will feel a lump, sometimes they’ll notice a dimpling or a change in the skin, while a lot of women don’t have any symptoms at all,” explained Harper.
Generally, breast cancer develops more frequently in the left breast than the right and a woman’s risk increases greatly with age.
“I would say a majority of women have no noticeable symptoms but detect it during their mammogram screenings,” added Harper.
Mammograms are proven to reduce the rate of death from breast cancer and should be done annually for women ages 40 and over.
“We offer screening mammograms at Adena Main or Fayette and we also have a full oncology service,” commented Harper. “We have surgeons, so if you need surgery for breast cancer, that is available. If you need radiation, that is available at Adena Chillicothe, and then here at Adena Fayette, we are able to do chemotherapy and follow up with an oncologist here as well.”
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death and for our area, is the second-most commonly diagnosed cancer right behind lung cancer.
“The most important thing is when you hit the appropriate age, get your regular mammogram because, like most cancers, if it is caught early, it can be treated much easier,” said Harper.
“The great news is, there are so many medications now for breast cancer that people can take throughout the process.”
While breast cancer cannot be prevented, you can greatly decrease your risk through diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle choices.
“This is something near and dear to my heart and should be taken seriously with the correct precautions,” concluded Harper.
People can visit www.komen.org for more information, facts, and statistics.