Preventing Breast Cancer: Do you know what to look out for?
Don't look now, but Halloween is almost upon us. Before you start Googling for Halloween costume ideas though, do take a few minutes to brush up on your knowledge about breast cancer this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
A May 31, 2016 article from Manila Bulletin mentions these sobering facts about breast cancer in the Philippines:
- 1 out of 13 women in the Philippines get breast cancer
- 1 out of 4 women will die within the first 5 years
- No less than 40% will die within 10 years
- The Philippines has the highest incidence of breast cancer in all of Asia
- 7 0% of those who die from the disease do not receive any kind of treatment
Given this admittedly scary reality, what can we do to prevent the disease?
Are you at risk?
First of all, you need to know the factors that increase your risk for breast cancer. According to the World Health Organization, these are the most important risk factors for breast cancer:
- Early menarche (or the first occurrence of menstruation)
- Late menopause
- Late age at first childbirth
Hormone replacement therapy users are also at higher risk than non-users. Additionally, obesity, physical inactivity, and alcohol use have been attributed to 21% of all breast cancer deaths worldwide.
What to look out for
Second, it pays to know what to look out for. Give yourself a breast self-exam once a month (ideally 7-10 days after your menstrual period starts) and look for any irregularities, including the following symptoms:
- Redness or scaliness of the breast skin
- Dimpling or puckering of the breast
- Discharge of secretions from the nipple
- Lumps or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area
- Inversion of the nipple
Doing regular breast self-exams allows you to know the geography of your breasts and discover any unusual changes sooner.
Early detection is key
Lastly, schedule regular check-ups with your OB-GYN. Here's one last fast fact: “Most recent statistics show that the survival rate for very early detected breast cancer is 99 percent,” Dr. Norman San Agustin said in the aforementioned Manila Bulletin article. Early detection is important to combat this disease, so take proactive charge of your health. Be sure to take up any medical concerns you might have with your doctor.
It's never too early to get preventive care coverage so you can monitor your health and find problems before they become worse. Maria Health is an online marketplace that makes it simple and easy to shop for healthcare in the Philippines. Whether you’re a freelancer with a limited budget or an entrepreneur just starting to get your feet wet, we’ve got you covered. Visit our site or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You deserve good health and we’re here to help.