No one is immune to breast cancer—it is an equal opportunity disease. However, we know that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and women between the ages of 75 and 79 have the highest incidence rate. The chance that a woman will get breast cancer increases from 1-in-233 for a woman in her thirties, to a 1-in-8 chance for a woman in her eighties. The good news is that the death rate for breast cancer in women has decreased since 1990. This is due primarily to early detection and treatment.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a good time to create an Early Detection Plan. The National Breast Cancer foundation has created and made available an application to receive reminders to do breast self-exams, and schedule mammograms based on your age and health history.
The Mayo Clinic lists these primary risk factors:
- Chest radiation as a child
- Menstruation before the age of 12
- Adolescent weight gain
- No pregnancy or late pregnancy (after 30)
- Lengthy use of oral contraceptives
- Post-menopausal weight gain
- Late menopause (after age of 50)
- Increased breast tissue density
I had my own breast cancer scare a few years back. My annual screening mammogram showed an abnormality, so I was scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram. That was the longest week of my life. At the time, I had two small children and was beyond worried. I also had a lot of questions. I went to the website BeyondTheShock for answers and to prepare myself for my possible journey. What I found there was an incredible community full of support. Luckily for me and my family, my lesion was benign and there was no cancer. But the survivor stores I found at BeyondTheSchock, had I not been so lucky, would have been an inspiration.
When detected and treated early enough, your chances of surviving breast cancer are better than ever. Do it today. Make an appointment for that all-important screening, especially if you are a woman over 40. Remember, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, but when breast cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate is 98%.
Caregiverlist wants to remind seniors and senior caregivers alike to use National Breast Cancer Awareness month as a reminder to schedule your annual mammogram.
In case you're wondering why you've been seeing pink everywhere for the past two weeks, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Early detection in breast cancer can mean the difference between surviving the disease or losing the battle. Two specific apps put out by the Keep A Breast Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Foundation focus on helping women learn how to perform self examinations properly and set reminders on a monthly basis to do so.
Women of all ages should perform a monthly self examination of their breasts to check for lumps as well as attend regularly scheduled mammograms and doctor appointments. A large percentage of senior caregivers and their senior clients are women, so caregivers can use these apps to educate themselves and their senior clients on the detection signs for the disease. Both apps offer instructions on how to perform a self exam but differ in other features. Caregivers can look at the instructions in both and determine which best meets their individual needs.
The Keep a Breast Foundation app offers detailed cartoon diagrams to show visually how to perform the exam. It also gives caregivers the opportunity to set a monthly reminder to perform their self examination. By checking monthly, women are more likely to recognize if something changes in the future so they can bring it up with a medical professional.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation app offers descriptions of a few different ways to do the exam, so users can pick whichever they are most comfortable with. It also features a Breast Cancer Clinic finder using a caregiver's current location so that a caregiver may schedule an appointment if they need to. There is also an option to donate to the Foundation from within the app.
Both apps are free. The Keep a Breast App is available for Apple and Android platforms. The National Breast Cancer Foundation app is available for Apple platforms.
Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist.