This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and you may have noticed that pink is everywhere. The pink ribbons and other pink gear is to remind you that breast cancer is a serious health concern and that early detection and screening can save lives. In the U.S., it is estimated there will be almost 300,000 new cases of breast cancer this year, and about 40,000 people will die from the disease. Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. There is good news: Cancer is most treatable when it’s found early. Self-breast exam, clinical breast exam, and mammograms can detect cancer and improve the chances of beating the disease.You can take steps to protect your health. Be proactive. Learn about your risk for breast cancer and other cancers by talking to your family about your family health history. Also, talk with your health care provider about your personal breast cancer risk factors. Get screenedregularly. Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you. Annual mammograms and clinical breast exams are recommended every year starting at age 40. Women over age 20 should have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years.Carson City Health and Human Services is available to serve as a resource to women who do not have a healthcare provider to discuss breast health concerns and provide routine clinical breast exams. For uninsured or underinsured women over 40, Carson City Health works with partners, including Women’s Health Connection, to link women with screening and care, including mammogram assistance. Finally, know your body and what is normal for you. Practice regular breast self exams. If you notice any changes in your breast, like a lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area, change in the size or shape of the breast, dimpling or puckering of the skin, or nipple discharge that starts suddenly, see your health care provider right away.Many of us know someone who has been touched by cancer. By improving screening and awareness, we can save lives. Learn more about breast cancer at www.komen.com, www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/index , and www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast. For information on Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org, or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CCHHS.
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