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4 Tips from OKCIC for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Oklahoma City Indian Clinic is offering four tips to encourage breast health.

According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. In recognition of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a nonprofit clinic providing services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, is offering tips for men and women to promote breast health.

“Early detection and screening play a key role in the fight against breast cancer,” Robyn Sunday-Allen, CEO of OKCIC, said. “At OKCIC, we provide one-on-one instruction to our patients about the importance of regular screenings, family history reviews and a health summary on preventative steps for our patients to keep them fully informed.”

In 2014, OKCIC provided mammograms to 1,900 patients, a rate of 78 percent. This rate is higher than that of Oklahoma County (71.2 percent), the state of Oklahoma (66.4 percent) and the nation (74.3 percent). Through the clinic’s proactive measures and regular check-ins with patients, OKCIC maintains a no-show rate of less than 7 percent. Patients diagnosed with cancer are referred to a specialist through OKCIC, so that the clinic can see the patient through the process.

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic is offering the following tips to encourage breast health:

Schedule regular screenings. Women age 55 and older are more likely to develop invasive breast cancer. Scheduling mammograms beginning at an early age can help with early detection. Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year, while women in their 20s and 30s should have clinical breast exams as part of their periodic health exams. Women should also perform self-examinations regularly. Contact your doctor if you notice significant changes.

Be aware of family history. If you have a sister or mother with breast cancer, you may be predisposed to the disease. According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, women with an immediate blood relative who has breast cancer are twice as likely to develop the disease. Talk with your family about your health history.

Develop a healthy lifestyle. Your lifestyle can have an impact on whether or not you are more susceptible to breast cancer. An abundance of fatty tissue and heavy drinking can be linked to the disease. Stay active and avoid overindulging in alcohol to reduce your risk.

Know what to look for. Skin changes, such as redness and swelling, changes in size or shape, general pain and lumps or nodes are all signs and symptoms of breast cancer. While these changes are important to watch for, you should not wait until these appear to have your breasts examined. Your doctor can help answer any questions you have about the disease and determine the best course of action for scheduling screenings.

Breast Cancer Infographic Cancer Treatment Centers

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