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Health column: What to know about breast cancer

in Health

About one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.

Tiffany King

In recognition of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ascension offers some of the top things you need to know about breast cancer.

The risk for breast cancer increases with age, as most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50. If you have a family history of breast cancer, it raises your chances for developing it, however, about 85 percent of women diagnosed have no family history of breast cancer.

Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. Early detection through self-exams and mammogram screening can save your life.

No matter your risk, early detection through self-exams and mammogram screenings is key to catching cancer when treatment has the best chance of being effective. Women need to be aware of any changes in their breasts including tenderness, discharge, skin dimpling or redness.

King says that there are ways to be proactive about controlling your risk factors.

That includes eating a healthy diet that limits highly processed foods, opting for lean meats, whole grains, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Regular exercise, not smoking and limiting alcohol consumption can also help.

It’s never too late to start making lifestyle choices that can improve your health and lower your risk for breast cancer.

Tiffany King is a nurse practitioner with Ascension Medical Group at Westwood in Wausau.

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