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Summit Medical Group of Oak Ridge

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month-by Patti Myers, FNP

This is the month that puts special focus on the importance of screening and early detection of breast cancer to save lives.

While it is a sad fact that one out of every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, the good news is the death rate from breast cancer continues to decline. That fact is largely due to early detection and treatment.

Breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States but with early treatment the five year survival rate has improved to 90.6% in those diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute at the Institutes of Health and, of course, many people live much linger.

Cancer changes things. Breast cancer may be detected earlier by a person being aware and recognizing change in breast tissue. Self-breast exams should include examining the breast tissue for change in shape and size of the breast. Also noticing any change in the skin color or texture, such as resembling the texture of an orange peel, is important. Nipple changes such as retraction, dimpling, or discharge is an important change to notice with bloody discharge being a more ominous sign. After looking for change, feeling of the breast tissue is an important step to notice change. Feeling for firm lumps or thickening of the tissue as you move over the breasts with your fingertips and up to the underarm area. If you note any changes or areas of concern you should ask your physician or health care provider to also examine for this finding.

Fear of humiliation of what you might find out may keep you from scheduling your annual breast exam and mammogram. Remember, early detection save lives.

The physicians and nurse practitioners at Summit Oak Ridge want to help dispel your fears. Our goal for our patients is to help you get and stay healthy. Breast exams and mammograms to detect any abnormalities is part of that.