HealthSmart

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Nurse Practitioner Amanda Young

Thu, Oct 14, 2021 at 11:05 AM

Prevention is Key: Breast Cancer Awareness

One in eight women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, let's work to prevent that.

Every person reading this knows someone who has had breast cancer or someone who has been greatly impacted by it. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one in eight women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. Each year in the United States, about 255,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,300 in men. It is the second leading cause of cancer death among women. With these staggering statistics in mind, the importance of taking preventative measures to prevent a diagnosis cannot be overstated.

October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness month to serve as a reminder to schedule a yearly mammogram as well as honor those who have fought and are still fighting this terrible disease.

Nurse practitioner Amanda Young teaches every day about the value of preventative care when it comes to avoiding this devastating diagnosis. Working at the Marshall Cancer Care Center for the past three years, she feels a great responsibility to teach others the importance of prevention with regular mammograms, healthy lifestyle choices and self-exams.

“Advancements in our screening technology have made finding cancers earlier easier, this often leads to much more positive outcomes” she said. “For example, for breast cancer patients, if something tiny is found, having a lumpectomy versus a mastectomy is much easier to recover from when it’s an option.” When it comes to any type of cancer, the earlier it is detected, the better off you will be.

Young preaches that message all year long, as well as urging women to do monthly self-exams. Get to know your body well is her mantra.

“You know yourself better than anybody,” she said. “I always remind people to be vigilant and be aware. If you notice any changes, let your doctor know. Get your mammogram but also know your body.”

Another important part of decreasing the risk of breast cancer is to maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising, eating healthy, well-balanced meals, and limiting alcohol consumption. “We only have one body, so we need to do all we can to take care of it for our own sakes and the sake of our loved ones” Young stated. If your weight is healthy, work to maintain that weight. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy strategies to accomplish this. Reduce the number of calories you eat each day and slowly increase the amount of exercise.

One important factor of breast cancer diagnosis is the impact your genes can have on your health. It is important to be aware of any family history with cancer. If you’ve had multiple cases on one side of the family, let your doctor know. If you had a family member diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, that’s definitely a risk factor to be aware of. It’s crucial to pass the information down to your children.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people missed their annual checkups and screenings, Nurse Young wants to relay the importance of getting back to yearly appointments. “Don’t delay preventative treatment,” she warned. “Don’t postpone check-ups and follow-ups out of fear of going to the hospital during a pandemic. That can cause you to become even sicker. Don’t be scared to see your doctor for your check-ups when you’re supposed to.”

Be vigilant about breast cancer detection. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, consult your doctor. If you haven’t already, make a commitment this October to ask your doctor when to begin mammograms and other screenings based on your personal history. Following these few preventive measures can save your life.