October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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NEWARK — October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM)—a great opportunity to learn more about breast cancer and steps you can take to prevent this disease.

Second to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. It is the main cause of cancer death in Hispanic women, and is the second most common cause of cancer death in white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that in 2006 (the most recent year numbers are available), 191,410 women were diagnosed with the disease and 40,820 women died from it.

Some risk factors for breast cancer include being female, age (higher risk for women age 60 and older), personal history of breast cancer, family history of breast cancer and the breast cancer genes—an “alteration” in one of two genes that are important for regulation breast cell growth.

Fortunately, there are lifestyle choices you can make to live a healthier life and to help reduce your breast cancer risk. They include:

  • Decreasing your daily fat intake, especially saturated or hydrogenated fats. Eat leaner meats and limit red meat.
  • Increasing fiber in your diet.
  • Eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Limiting alcohol.
  • Staying active. The U.S. Surgeon General suggests engaging in a moderate amount of physical activity (such as taking a brisk, 30-minute walk) on most days of the week.
  • Avoiding smoking.

It is important for women to practice good breast health and it is suggested that women obtain regular mammography screening starting at the age of 40, obtain annual clinical breast exams, perform monthly breast self-exams, and obtain a risk assessment from a physician.

For more information about breast cancer, please contact Newark Beth Israel Medical Center at 1-973-926-7000, or visit www.nbcam.org.


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