October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and October the 4th through the 10th is Mental Illness Awareness Week.
The American Cancer Society states that Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in American women after skin cancer. American women have a 1 in 8 chance or 13% chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetime. There are many types of breast cancers which include ducal carcinoma - in situ and invasive (the most common), lobular carcinoma - in situ and invasive (the least common), inflammatory breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer and breast cancer in men. The 5-year survival rate for local (early stage) breast cancer is as high as 99%. With the 5-year survival rate for distant (late stage or metastatic) breast cancer is only 26%. Prevention and early detection is the key to increasing an individual’s survival rate.
The American Cancer Society list the following as preventative measures for the general population:
Maintaining a healthy weight
Avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption
Talking with your physician to consider non-hormonal therapy for menopausal symptoms
For women with increased risk for breast cancer (strong family history of breast cancer or a known gene mutation) the American Cancer Society recommends:
Getting genetic counseling and specific testing for genetic mutations (BRCA1 or BRCA2)
Looking for early signs of breast cancer (with diagnostic tests and exams)
Considering medicines that lower breast cancer risk
Considering preventative (prophylactic) surgery
But they caution that you should consult with and work with your healthcare provider to determine your breast cancer risk and what, if any, measures should be taken.
The American Cancer Society has the following recommendations for average risk women regarding screening:
Women between 40 and 44 years have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.
Women 45 to 54 years should get mammograms every year.
Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live at least 10 more years.
(All women should understand what to expect when getting a mammogram for breast cancer screening – what the test can and cannot do.)
Clinical breast exams are not recommended for breast cancer screening among average-risk women at any age.
The American Cancer Society state that women who are at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get a breast MRI and a mammogram every year, typically starting at age 30. This includes women who:
- Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of about 20% to 25% or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history (see below)
- Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation (based on having had genetic testing)
- Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, and have not had genetic testing themselves
- Had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years
- Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes
The American Cancer Society recommends against MRI screening for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15%.
For further recommendations and information, please refer to the American Cancer Society’s website; https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer.html and consult with your private physician.
Additionally breast cancer resources:
Susan G. Komen website; https://ww5.komen.org
National Breast Cancer Foundation; https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/
Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 4 - October 10)
Millions of Americans are affected by mental illness. In reality, everyone is affected directly or indirectly by mental illness through their relationships with friends, family and colleagues. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that “despite mental illnesses’ reach and prevalence, stigma and misunderstanding are also, unfortunately, widespread.” They further state “that is why each year, during the first week of October, NAMI and participants across the country raise awareness of mental illness. Each year, we educate the public, fight stigma and provide support.”
The theme of 2020’s Mental Illness Awareness Week is, “What People with Mental Illness Want You to Know.” This year’s stressors of COVID-19, social injustice and inequality and our current politically divided nation has revealed in some people underlying and untreated mental illnesses, pushed others into crisis who previously were healthy and well-adjusted and finally, caused relapses in others who were stable in their illness. Check on your friends, family and colleagues. For further information visit The National Alliance on Mental Illness website:
Additional mental illness resources:
COVID-19 is still with us. Will still need to be vigilant in taking precautions to avoid getting and spreading the virus.
STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 and GERMS (CDC.gov/coronavirus)
- Social distance: stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue then throw the tissue in the trash and immediately wash your hands
- Wear cloth facial coverings or masks when out in public
- DO NOT touch your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- STAY HOME when you are sick except when getting medical care
- WASH YOUR HANDS often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19
(This is not an all-inclusive list)
Fever (temperature greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius)
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste and/or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Psalm 121 (NKJV): I will lift up my eyes to the hills, From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth and even forevermore.
Content courtesy of the CDC and WHO websites. Links below:
|NAD Health Ministry|
|Adventist Hospitals||NEWSTART Lifestyle program|
|Uchee Pines Institute||WebMD||Veggie World|