• Kelley Carroll

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October certainly is all about the pink and for good reason! Breast cancer is the world’s most commonly diagnosed cancer, and it is predicted that by 2040 breast cancer will increase by 40%, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Here are the facts:

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, except for skin cancers.

  • Breast cancer amounts for 30% (or 1 in 3) of all new female cancers each year (The American Cancer Society).

  • In 1993, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported the towns of Cape Cod showed a consistently higher incidence rate of breast cancer than the statewide rate. From this finding sprung the Cape Cod Breast Cancer and Environment Study.

  • Based on this study, it seems that women who live on the Cape for a longer period of time are more susceptible to regional and environmental issues.

We know - this is scary! So, what can we do to protect ourselves? We can be diligently proactive!

First, understand that cancer could be dwelling in your chest area before symptoms occur. So, the sooner you identify any breast cancer symptom, the sooner you can get a diagnosis and the sooner you can begin treatment. Every day, examine yourself and look for the following signs:

  • A lump or thickening in or near your breast or in your underarm area.

  • A change in the shape or size of your breast.

  • Discharge from your nipple or tenderness.

  • Inverted nipple.

  • Ridges or pitting that looks like the skin of an orange.

  • A change in the way the skin of the breast, nipple, or areola (the dark area surrounding your nipple) looks or feels. It should not be warm, swollen, red, or scaly.

  • A sore or ulcer on your breast that does not heal.

Second, we can research our familial history to determine whether or not we have hereditary cancer genes. Start by gathering information from relatives and then take the Cape Cod Healthcare Cuda Center’s Hereditary Cancer Risk Survey online and in the privacy of your own home. If your answers indicate that you may be susceptible to cancer, you can submit a request for an evaluation with a genetic specialist at the Cuda Center.

For further information about breast cancer, please visit The Cuda Women’s Health Center website. The Cuda Center is located on Attuck’s Lane in Hyannis and provides comprehensive breast cancer analysis, diagnosis, and coordinates treatment.

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