October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to American Cancer Society, there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer but a healthy life style can make a difference. You can reduce your risk by avoiding alcohol, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet to maintain a healthy body weight.

For asymptomatic women (no concerns or complaints regarding the breasts) 40 years of age or older that are enrolled with a primary care provider (PCM) at Naval Hospital Lemoore, self-request mammography is now available at Naval Hospital Lemoore. For a self-request, please call the Radiology Department at (559)998-2596 to schedule a screening mammogram.

Please note that annual screening mammograms do not replace your well woman visit.

For more information, please contact: Bella Ruguian, RN, Naval Hospital Lemoore, phone number 998-4601.

What is a healthy diet?

A healthy diet includes eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day, choosing whole grains over processed (refined) grains and limiting consumption of processed and red meats while emphasizing plant sources of nutrition.

Yes, genes are a factor but lifestyle can make a difference.

Exercise is Important. But, how much exercise do I need?

In one study from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) as little as 1 hour to 2 hours per week of brisk walking reduced a women’s risk by 18%. Walking 10 hours a week may reduce the risk a little more. Remember to check with your medical provider before beginning an exercise regimen.

What is early detection and how important is it?

Since there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, early detection is very important. According to The American Cancer Society, early detection means using an approach that allows earlier diagnosis of breast cancer. Screening refers to tests and exams used to aid in the early diagnosis of diseases, such as cancer, in people who may not have symptoms. Screening exams are used to locate cancer before symptoms are present. Due to the slow growth of most breast cancers, symptoms tend to be a late sign of this progressive disease. With late detection it is more likely that the cancer cells may have already spread beyond the breast, while breast cancers found early during screening exams are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast. The size of a breast cancer and how far it has spread are some of the most important factors in predicting the prognosis (outlook) for a woman with this disease. Early detection occurs through regular screening exams including Breast Self-Exam, Clinical Breast Exams, and Mammograms.

When should I have my first mammogram?

The American Cancer Society recommends most women have their first mammogram at the age 40 unless your provider sees the need for it at an earlier age. This usually depends on your risk factors and present health conditions. Women without breast symptoms, age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year.

What if I have breast implants?

Breast implants make it harder to see breast tissue on standard mammograms, but additional x-ray pictures called implant displacement views can be used to more completely examine the breast tissue.

How often do I need a clinical breast exam?

Clinical breast exams (CBE) are performed by your health care provider and should be part of a periodic health exam, about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and yearly after 40 years of age.

When should I do my breast self-exam?

Breast self-exam (BSE) is encouraged for women starting in their 20s. Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report any changes promptly to their health care providers. According to Breast Health Care (4th edition), check your breasts when they are least tender and not filled with fluid. This varies for different women, but for menstruating women, they should examine their breasts the last day of the menstrual period or several days after. Please talk to your provider to know when to do your BSE.

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