Starting in the month of October, we often see the color pink making its highly anticipated annual appearance – But what does it truly mean to “think pink?” The truth is, at some point in each of our lives, we will encounter a friend, relative, teacher, or coworker that is battling breast cancer. Knowing the facts is the first step in raising awareness for those strong women and men – And that’s “thinking pink!”
Did you know that in the United States alone, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime? In fact, statistics show that every 2 minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the US. Worldwide, it is estimated that every minute a woman dies from breast cancer. That’s more than 1,400 women every day. Don’t let the statistics fool you, though – Breast cancer isn’t something only women deal with. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 833, and approximately 2,650 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2021.
Your personal risk as it relates to breast cancer can be traced back to many different factors. When it comes to family history, a woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed. Genetic factors could also be responsible for disease occurrence, such as mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. On average, women with a BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. For women with a BRCA2 mutation, the risk is 69%. Other times, a woman’s risk is higher simply due to being a female combined with the effects of aging. You can take measures to lessen the risk of developing breast cancer, such as not smoking, eating healthy, and getting an adequate amount of exercise.
The most effective resource for combating breast cancer is routine screening and a strong relationship with your doctors. Women who get screened for breast cancer regularly have a 47% lower risk of dying from the disease compared to those who don’t. Screening and testing can help catch cancer with an early diagnosis, giving treatment an upper hand.
Step 1: Examine your breasts in the shower to feel for any changes or lumps.
Step 2: Next, examine your breasts in the mirror with your arms down, up, and on your hips to spot any changes in appearance.
Step 3: Stand and press your fingers on your breast, working around the breast in a circular direction.
Step 4: Lie down and repeat step 3.
Step 5: Squeeze your nipples to check for discharge. Check under the nipple last.
Women who have faced cancer, and as a result, have undergone surgery as a means of treatment now have the option to rebuild and shape their breast(s). Some women opt-out, but for others, breast reconstructive surgery is an added confidence boost and can be life-changing! Our team at Bluewater Plastic Surgery, alongside Dr. Clark, put our patient’s health first and ensure all are well cared for. Dr. Clark is among a select group of Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons who have attained the highest level of achievement in cosmetic surgical training, continuing education, and clinical experience. If you are considering reconstruction surgery, we recommend scheduling a consultation and talking with your surgeon, even if you have yet to have surgery to remove the tumor or breast. Call us today or go online to schedule your consultation.