In the Gorge, we know or have heard about someone that has had or died from breast cancer. Some of us have experienced breast cancer ourselves. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States other than skin cancer. Each week in Oregon and Southwest Washington, 70 men and women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 10 will die.
Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast.
According to the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, there are risks that increase our chance of having breast cancer, but there are also things we can do to decrease our chances.
Risks you cannot control
Gender: Being a woman is the main risk for getting breast cancer.
Aging: Our risk of getting breast cancer increases as we get older.
Genetic risk factors: About 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer cases could be hereditary.
Family history of breast cancer: Breast cancer risk is higher in women whose close blood relatives have this disease.
Dense breast tissue: Breasts are made up of fatty tissue, fibrous tissue, and glandular tissue. Denser breasts increase risk of breast cancer.
Menstrual periods: Women who start menstruating before age 12 and/or go through menopause after age 55 have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer.
Risks you can control
Having children: Women who have not had children or who had their first child after age 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk overall.
Birth control: Non-barrier birth control like IUDs and the pill could increase risk.
Breastfeeding: Some studies suggest that breastfeeding may slightly lower breast cancer risk, especially if it is continued for 1 and a half to 2 years.
Drinking alcohol: Drinking alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of getting breast cancer.
Being overweight or obese: Being overweight or obese after menopause increases breast cancer risk.
Physical activity: Evidence is growing that physical activity reduces breast cancer risk.
Do what you can to find breast cancer early!
Know your risk
Get checked by your doctor and get your mammograms
Know what normal is for your breasts and get checked if you notice a change
Make healthy lifestyle choices
Help raise awareness and help people reduce their risk of breast cancer. Come to the free event The Gorge-us Dance in Pink Fiesta hosted at St. Francis House in Odell on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 5 to 8 p.m. There will be activities, freebies, raffles, games, information and resources in our area for breast cancer screenings. There will be 90 minutes of awesome Zumba! Join us!
Healthy Active Hood River County (HAHRC) is our community healthy living coalition. We promote wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention, behavioral health, prevention of addictions and policy and environmental change. Join us at our next meeting November 24th, 11:30am-1:00pm at Providence Hood River Hospital Boardroom.