Breast Cancer – Facts, warning signs and what you can do to help!

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Did you know that breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women, and a number of men? Did you know that it could affect you whether you have the BRCA gene or not?  There are many unknowns surrounding breast cancer. One thing is for certain, though early detection is key in beating the disease.

Below, we’ve asked our friends at Susan G. Komen South Florida to help provide some facts about breast cancer and warning signs. Ultimately, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, schedule an appointment with your physician and get checked.

What are the warning signs?

Due to the regular use of mammography screening, most breast cancers in the U.S. are found at an early stage, before warning signs appear. However, not all breast cancers are found through mammography.

The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for everyone.

The most common signs are:

  • A change in the look or feel of the breast or underarm area
  • Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • A change in the look or feel of the nipple
  • Nipple discharge

If you have any of the warning signs described above, see a health care provider.

If you don’t have a provider, one of the best ways to find a good one is to get a referral from a someone you trust.

If that’s not an option, call your health department, a clinic or a nearby hospital. If you have insurance, your insurance company may also have a list of providers in your area.

Becoming informed and empowered is the first step in battling this disease. Click to Komen’s interactive tutorial  to better understand the development of breast cancer, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment options.

For more information, visit https://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/WarningSigns.html

How does Susan G. Komen South Florida help our local community?

Susan G. Komen South Florida knows that making sense of the complex word of breast cancer can be overwhelming for many.  The affiliate fields calls from women—and men—with concerns every single day.  They have become the first responders to breast cancer, providing immediate assistance, comfort and assurance, and a warm hand-off to a Komen-funded organization that can provide support when the need is most urgent.

No matter who you are and what you are facing, Komen South Florida is here to help you understand where you can go for local resources.  They can help connect you to services for:

  • Mammograms for the uninsured/underinsured
  • Clinical breast exams, screenings,and diagnostics for the uninsured and underinsured
  • Breast health education and navigation for uninsured/underinsured Spanish-speaking and Creole-speaking individuals
  • Screenings, diagnostics, treatment, education, and navigation for uninsured/underinsured women and men with late diagnoses
  • Financial assistance for cancer patients who are uninsured or underinsured and can’t afford treatment.

For more information about Komen South Florida’s resources in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties, visit – https://komensouthflorida.org/understanding-breast-cancer/local-resources/

What other resources are available?

Breast cancer can be scary and confusing, both for those diagnosed and for their friends and family. It’s important to have a strong support network to help with the physical and emotional demands of the disease.

Remember, you are not alone. There are many support services available to assist you on this journey, including:

  • 1-877-GO-KOMEN, a free breast care helpline offering professional support services to anyone with breast health and breast cancer concerns, including breast cancer patients and their families.
  • The Co-Survivor section of Komen’s national website, where friends and family members can share tips and advice, and read personal stories from others who have been in similar situations.
  • Breast Cancer Trials.org was developed specifically for women and men interested in breast cancer trials and is a non-profit service that is dedicated to providing accurate information about breast cancer clinical trials.

What are the facts and stats on breast cancer?

There has been great progress in the breast cancer movement since Susan G. Komen was founded in 1982.  Death rates from breast cancer have dropped by 37 percent since 1990.  And with Komen’s Bold Goal to cut the nation’s 40,000 breast cancer deaths in half by 2026, we should see more advancements in the years to come.

Komen is focusing on health equity as one of the most effective ways to meet its Bold Goal.  Efforts include reducing the 41% higher mortality rate African American women have vs. their Caucasian counterparts. Funding research for the most lethal forms of breast cancer, including triple negative breast cancer, is another way Komen will strive towards its goal to save more lives.

To give you an idea of the statistics of breast cancer today, in 2018, it’s estimated that among U.S. women and men there will be:

Women

  • 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer
  • 40,920 breast cancer deaths

Men

  • 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer
  • 480 breast cancer deaths

How can I get involved?

Komen South Florida’s most important event of the year to support the programs we’ve talked about here is the Race for the Cure.  It takes place Saturday, January 26th along Downtown West Palm Beach’s beautiful waterfront, with events for all ages.  You can run, walk, do our family fun walk, or just be a part of our incredibly moving event where we honor hundreds of survivors as they walk towards the Meyer Amphitheatre stage.  It’s also a great event for teams, especially to honor a loved one with breast cancer.

Go to komensouthflorida.org/race to register for the Race for the Cure.  If you can’t make it to the Race, please consider making a donation to support finding a cure for breast cancer and help Komen South Florida continue the tremendous progress that has only been possible because of the generosity of people who believe in the cause.