Wellness at Wilkes: Breast Cancer Awareness

Wellness at Wilkes: Breast Cancer Awareness

Natalie Stephens, Asst. Life, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The month of October is coming to a close and so is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Even though this month will soon be over, it is important to keep up support for those with this disease and to remain educated about this cause throughout the year.

Even though it is more common to focus on breast cancer between the ages of 25-39, girls as young as 15 can develop breast cancer.

It was found by the American Cancer Society that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point. This type of cancer is the most common in women and the most least common type in men at 1 percent. Even though it is rare in men, it is not impossible.

There are many issues that can develop when a younger person is diagnosed with breast cancer. Having to face difficult health decisions like whether or not to get a mastectomy, which is the surgical removal of a breast, at young age can be very difficult.

What can be done monitor lifestyle choices at younger ages to help combat breast cancer? One of the most important habits that are recommended to limit or quit altogether is alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking. The Mayo Clinic found that alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking was linked to breast cancer.

With the demands of college life being so stressful it is sometimes difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle choices that would help lower the risk of breast cancer are exercise and eating well. Regularly exercising and maintaining a healthy weight were tips offered by the Susan G. Komen foundation. Adding fruits, vegetables and whole grains also contributed to lowering risk. Some things that are recommended to stay away from are red and processed meats as well as saturated and trans fats.

Estrogen is a hormone that helps to stimulate cell growth which could develop into breast cancer. For women that have more fat on their bodies they may also have more estrogen so that increases breast cancer risk. This risk is more common in women that have been exposed to estrogen for more than 10 years so for college students it is something to remember.

It is also important to know your body so you can be aware of any changes. Yearly appointments with your doctor and self-breast examines are recommended in all females starting as young as 20. The National Breast Cancer Foundation provides helpful guides and resources associated with self-breast examines and breast cancer in general.

The Mayo Clinic warns that while it is important to conduct self-breast examines there are some risks. Some women get anxious and worry when they do find a lump even though most lumps that are found are not cancerous.

The Mayo Clinic also stresses that self-breast examines do not replace an exam by a doctor. It is still important to be seen yearly or more depending on the situation.

Early detection can be a life changer for many people, especially at a younger age. Dr. Abas Sabouni is an assistant professor in electrical engineering and has been working with students at Wilkes University in research towards early detection for breast cancer.

The team is working to develop a sensor that can detect breast cancer at its earliest stage. This advancement would help those that have had breast cancer in the past so that it can be detected if it returns as well as detect breast cancer for the first time.

Advancements like these will help younger people in the future as well as those in remission to live long healthier lives if breast cancer is able to be detected at its earliest stage.

Throughout the year, not just the month of October, it is important to be aware of breast cancer warning signs and be there for those that have the disease.