BANGOR — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, making it one of the most common cancers.
That’s according to Oncologist and Hematologist at Northern Light Cancer Care Hilal Hachem,
“The most important thing we can do is early detection, and that’s done once a year, a screening mammogram and clinical breast exam by a health care provider,” Hachem said.
How do you know when you should begin yearly screenings?
“Having a specific discussion with your primary care provider or gynecology provider about your specific risk and knowing the pros and cons of screening is important,” said Deziree Worster, a women’s health nurse practitioner at St. Joseph Hospital.
Worster said it’s key to be in tune with your body.
“Some signs of breast cancer could be a new lump that’s firm, that’s fixed. Sometimes, there’s associated skin changes or dimpling. There is also sometimes a nipple discharge that could be bloody and then sometimes there’s a pulling or a swelling or a painful sensation,” Worster said.
Hachem said some preventative measures include exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, maintaining a normal body mass index, avoiding excessive alcohol intake and smoking and keeping a healthy balanced diet.
“It’s important to I think one, prevent and two, is detect as early as possible if possible because the earlier we can detect breast cancer, the higher the chances are that a woman can be cured from this,” Hachem said.
He said the treatment of breast cancer has evolved a lot over time with various methods.
“I think that medicine has come a long way, and we’ve made many discoveries,” Hachem said. “We’re able to change a lot of people’s lives, but it always starts with each person, for them to be aware.