Breast Cancer Awareness: A Doctor’s Perspective
As some of you may already know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The sad truth is that our battle with the disease is far from over: every year, more than 40,000 American women die as a result of the disease, and during the course of a lifetime, approximately 12 to 13% of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It is an affliction that affects our mothers, sisters, daughters, and partners, and the medical world continues to search for more effective treatments—and hopefully, a cure.
In the meantime, I’d like to take the opportunity to address some myths about the disease. First, your choice of deodorant or antiperspirant simply doesn’t have any bearing on the disease progression, nor do underwire bras or any other kind of clothing. Breast size also doesn’t matter: women with large breasts are as likely to develop breast cancer as women with small breasts. Your consumption of coffee or soda doesn’t matter, either—numerous studies have shown that there’s no link between caffeine and cancer.
As a cosmetic surgeon, many of my patients have asked me about whether breast implants contribute to cancer—the short answer is absolutely not. The long answer is that breast implants are so common in our society today that if there were any breast cancer trends associated with either saline or silicone implants, it would have manifested itself by now. Past that, however, there have been a huge variety of medical studies that have specifically explored possible links between breast implants and breast cancer, and all of them have shown no correlation. In fact, breast implants can often aid detection, as the implant works as a scaffold to the body’s existing breast tissue to make palpation easier!
If you’re interested in truly fighting breast cancer, knowledge is power. Consider that breast cancer often has as high as a 100% cure rate if detected in Stage I, or the initial stages of the cancer—early detection could save the life of you or someone you know! From the age of 20 onwards, women should begin to administer self-exams to check for lumps and undergo a clinical breast exam (CBE) once every two to three years. After the age of 40, yearly mammograms are a must. In most cases, these exams will be covered by your health insurance.
You’ll also want to know your family’s history. Women whose maternal family members developed breast cancer before the age of 50 may be more likely to carry the BRCA1 and BRAC2 genetic mutations, which can increase the lifetime risk of breast cancer to as high as 60%. In these cases, identifying the relative probability of breast cancer and being pro-active about self-examinations and regular medical imaging is absolutely vital.
Besides staying on top of early monitoring, there’s a lot that women can do to lower breast cancer rates. First, stay at a healthy weight, as obese women are 50% more likely to develop breast cancer. Second, limit consumption of alcohol to an average of one drink per day. Third, stay active! Four or more hours of intense exercise each week has been proven to decrease estrogen levels and reduce breast cancer risk by more than 30%. Lastly, eat healthy. Post-menopausal women who ate a diet rich in fruits, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, fish, and vegetables were less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
If you or someone you care about hasn’t scheduled a mammogram so far, there’s no time like the present. Because of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many imaging centers are offering discounts on their services. In many cases, cash pricing for a mammogram can be as low as $80 throughout the Southern California. And, for those on a tight budget, free or low-cost options may be available. Contact the Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Breast Care Helpline at 1-800 I’M AWARE (1-800-462-9273) for additional info.
If you have any further questions you may reach Dr. Farzaneh of Farzaneh Cosmetic surgery Inland Empire at (909)590-2299.
Take action now: your health may depend upon it!
Fazraneh Cosmetic Surgery Office is conveniently located at 13768 Roswell Avenue, Suite 222, Chino California 91710.
To get further information you may visit the website at www.farzanehcosmeticsurgery.com or www.drcosmeticsurgery.com.