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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In our world of rush rush rush rush, have it all, have it now, we forget our one of most valuable asset. Our health. So many times the people we count on as partners and caretakers don't give themselves the time to be taken care of.

I don't know the exact demographic for the readers of this blog. Five out of the seven people who have signed on as followers are women so logic would say that the bulk of the people who see this will be women also. I find though that I must pass on a message to any of the men out there.

Do you want to show the women in your life how much they mean to you? Take care of them. Be concerned with their well being. That'll probably get you more points than taking the garbage out on time.

Did you know it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Though I can only go through some statistics and warnings it's an important enough issue for the tired and grumpy Night Guy to repeat them.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women. According to the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website, http://nbcam.org/, there are several risk factors. I have lifted some information directly from their site. A lot of us may already know most of this stuff but please pass it on. The more people who are aware, the better chances of a life being saved.

The highest risk factor for breast cancer is being female; the disease is about 100 times more common among women.

The risk of breast cancer increases as a woman grows older. The risk is especially high for women age 60 and older. Breast cancer is uncommon in women younger than age 35, although it does occur. There is some evidence to suggest young African American women are at greater risk for breast cancer than young Caucasian women.

Women who have had breast cancer and women with a history of breast disease (not cancer, but a condition that may predispose them to cancer) may develop it again.

The risk of developing breast cancer increases for a woman whose mother, sister, daughter, or two or more close relatives have had the disease. It is important to know how old they were at the time they were diagnosed.

The next 5 risk factors all involve estrogen, a hormone that naturally occurs in men and women. However, at the time menstruation begins, women start to produce larger amounts of estrogen and will continue to do so until they reach menopause. Estrogen appears to play a key role in breast cancer. Although estrogen doesn't actually cause breast cancer, it may stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Estrogen-related risk factors are:

Having an early menarche (first period or menstrual bleeding). Women who begin menstruating before age 12 are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. The more menstrual cycles a woman has over her lifetime, the more likely she is to get the disease.

Having a first pregnancy after age 25 or 35. Although early pregnancies may help lower the chances of getting breast cancer, particularly before the age of 25, these same hormonal changes after age 35 may contribute to the incidence of breast cancer.

Having no children. Women who experience continuous menstrual cycles until menopause are at a higher than average risk.

Use of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Based on the Women's Health Initiative Study (2002), women do appear to have an increased risk of breast cancer while they are on HRT and a short time thereafter, compared to those who have never used postmenopausal HRT. This is based on a study of 16,000 healthy postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 who were taking either estrogen plus progestin as HRT or a placebo (an inactive pill).

Use of Oral Contraceptives (OCs) and Breast Cancer. Current or former use of OCs among women ages 35 to 64 did not significantly increase the risk of breast cancer. The findings were similar for Caucasian and African-American women. Data also show that former OC use does not increase the risk of breast cancer later in life.

Early detection is the most important step to fighting cancer. Men please help take care of the women in your lives. Be aware of the risk factors and help them take care of themselves. Ladies, think of yourselves first some times. Take care of yourselves some times. Please, please, please do a self exam or get a mammogram.

Peace

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