About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Fortunately, with better screenings, early detection, increased awareness, and improved treatment options, many types of breast cancer may be curable.
In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Health Plan of Nevada would like to share five things that people may not know about breast cancer.
Five Key Facts Include:
- Early diagnosis may be a game changer.
On average, the five-year breast cancer survival rate is 90 percent. For patients diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, the five-year survival rate is close to 100 percent.
- Mammograms matter.
According to the American Cancer Society, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a substantial decline in cancer screenings. While it is recommended that women between the ages of 45 and 55 get an annual mammogram, many have postponed their screenings and continue to delay scheduling these important appointments. Mammograms may detect breast irregularities that can be further examined with techniques, such as a biopsy to help determine a cancer diagnosis. Talk with your doctor to determine what kind of screening plan works best for you given your health, age, and family history of breast cancer.
- Most breast cancer isn’t hereditary.
Only 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers are caused by genetic factors, such as gene mutations that significantly increase a person’s chance of developing breast and other cancers during their lifetime. Ask your doctor whether genetic testing makes sense for you.
- Breast changes are normal, but don’t ignore symptoms that persist.
Breasts come in all shapes and sizes, and they can change based on a woman’s age, menstrual cycle, and other factors. Breast lumps, rashes and discharge are common, and these things don’t necessarily mean you have cancer. If you notice changes to your breast that persist, seek evaluation. Rarer symptoms such as bloody nipple discharge or hard lumps in the breast or under the armpit should be checked out right away.
- A healthy lifestyle can make a difference.
The most important way to prevent breast cancer is by exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. The American Cancer Society recommends 2.5 hours of physical activity each week to help lower the risk of cancer. In addition to exercise, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends new dietary guidelines. These include limiting alcohol, reducing added sugar consumption, and eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
About Health Plan of Nevada
Health Plan of Nevada is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In Nevada, Health Plan of Nevada offers health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicaid beneficiaries. Health Plan of Nevada is part of UnitedHealthcare, one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit Health Plan of Nevada’s website, or follow on Facebook and Instagram.