|Sushma Patel, M.D.|
PINEHURST – According to the American Cancer Society, there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. But there are things a woman can do that might lower her risk, such as changing risk factors that she can control, especially those that are related to personal behaviors.
Some of these lifestyle-related risk factors focus on diet, exercise, decisions about having children and taking medicines that contain hormones.
Equally important, according to a radiation oncologist with FirstHealth of the Carolinas, is being aware of the importance of early detection and breast cancer screening, which includes self-breast exams and regular mammograms.
“Breast cancer screening is an important tool in the early detection of breast cancer,” says Sushma Patel, M.D. “This involves a very active patient role in consistent self-breast exams. Mammograms provide radiographic screening, but knowing your breast is a vital part of the dual approach to detection.”
Current American Cancer Society recommendations for mammographic screening include choice for screening from age 40 to 44, yearly mammograms from age 45 to 54, and choice of annual or biannual screening for age 55 and older.
During October, FirstHealth of the Carolinas joins the rest of the nation in observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a variety of activities that include the Oct. 18 “Pink Out” for which members of the community are asked to wear pink, the traditional color of breast cancer awareness.
Already underway are community “Drink Pink” stands where pink lemonade is sold with proceeds benefiting the Cancer CARE Fund of The Foundation of FirstHealth. In addition to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, where the next “Drink Pink” stand will be stationed just outside the hospital’s cafeteria on Oct. 18, participating community businesses include ACE Hardware, The Pilot and the Ice Cream Parlor.
For a complete listing of participating “Drink Pink” businesses, visit www.firsthealth.org/drinkpink.
In addition to these activities, any woman having a mammogram at a FirstHealth facility during October will be given a free cosmetic bag.
For more information on the cancer treatment and support services offered by FirstHealth of the Carolinas, visit www.nccancercare.org.