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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Every October, East Jefferson General Hospital is proud to join the rest of the country to observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This time of year presents a powerful opportunity to highlight the value of prevention and early detection of breast cancer.

Raising awareness about breast cancer is critical in the fight against this disease, which is one of the most common cancers in women. In the United States, about 240,000 women develop breast cancer every year, and roughly 42,000 women die from breast cancer on an annual basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An Annual Tradition

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is nearly 40 years old— the same age women of average risk are when they should have the option to start annual breast cancer screenings, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Throughout the month of October, we encourage you to inspire yourself and other women you love to preserve breast health with breast cancer screening and prevention. Talk to your OB/GYN about:

  • Factors that increase your risk of breast cancer
  • Guidelines about annual breast cancer screening that you need to follow
  • Lifestyle habits that reduce breast cancer risk

During October, you can wear a pink ribbon to show your support for women facing breast cancer and to demonstrate hope that researchers will one day find a cure.

How early detection saves lives

When doctors find breast cancer early, it is easier to treat the disease successfully. However, when breast cancer is found during later stages, it has the potential to spread to other parts of the body.

Breast cancer in Stage IV is known as metastatic breast cancer, according to the ACS. In this stage, the cancer may have spread to the bones or vital organs, such as the liver or lungs. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day is observed on Oct. 13 to raise awareness about this stage of disease and the research still needed to find an effective treatment and cure.

Best practice to find breast cancer

Early detection is an important practice any time of year. Between mammograms, familiarize yourself with how your breasts look and feel. If something seems off, let your doctor know. Suspicious symptoms you should have checked out include:

  • Blood coming from the nipple
  • Changes in the size or shape of your breasts
  • Lump in the breasts or underarms
  • Nipple discharge that is not breast milk
  • Unusual discomfort or pain in the breast

Your doctor can investigate any changes that concern you. It is also important to follow general wellness practices that could decrease your risk of developing breast cancer, such as:

  • Exercising at least 30 minutes daily
  • Limiting your intake of alcohol to one drink daily or not drinking at all
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

If you have a new baby, breastfeeding can also help lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

The Breast Care Center

Learn about mammograms and follow-up care at the Breast Care Center at East Jefferson General Hospital. Extended hours on weekdays and even some Saturday mornings make it more convenient to access the screening you need. Appointments are available 6 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday. When you’re ready, our friendly staff is happy to assist you with making an appointment with our team of providers.

To schedule an appointment, call 504.503.4164. We ask that any appointment cancellations are made at least 24 hours in advance, so we can serve another woman in need of our care.