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Hone awareness, prevention this month

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women.  In 2012, 224,147 women and 2,125 men were diagnosed with breast cancer. Combined, more than ten percent of women and men died of the disease.  Awareness and prevention are the best deterrents. Here are some awareness and prevention tips to keep you healthy!

1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends performing regular breast self-examinations. BSEs can bring awareness to the changes in breast size or shape and pain, all of which are symptoms of breast cancer.

2. The World Health Organization urges to make healthy choices including keeping a healthy weight, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.  Maintaining a healthy weight has contributed to lower risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

3. The National Cancer Institute requests, if possible, new mothers should opt to breastfeed. Mothers who breastfed exhibit lower incidence of breast cancer than those who did not.

4. The American Cancer Society proposes refraining from excessive exposure to chemicals, such as carcinogens. Carcinogens can be found in tobacco products and naturally in the environment e.g., ultraviolet light.

5. The CDC promotes avoiding consumption of more than one alcoholic beverage per day. All types of alcohol are carcinogens and the more quantities consumed, the higher the risk of breast cancer.

6. According to the United States Prevention Services Task Force, women 50 to 74 years old should receive regular mammograms every two years. Women between 40 and 49 years old should consult their doctor about when they should begin mammogram screening. In comparison, the American Cancer Society recommends women 40 years old and older receive mammograms annually.

7. The CDC advises reducing exposure to radiation during medical and dental testing such as CT scans, mammograms and panoramic x-rays. To accomplish this, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration advocates the use of personal protective equipment.

8. The International Agency for Research and Cancer encourages you to discuss with your physician the impact of consuming hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives on your risk of breast cancer.

9. Know your family history. The CDC suggests if you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about prescribing antiestrogen and other medications or preventive surgery, such as a mastectomy.

10. Early detection is the key to prevention!
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