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  1. Employee Resources
  2. News Room
  3. Steps Toward Breast Health

Steps Toward Breast Health

Release Date: October 11, 2022

October is dedicated to bringing awareness to breast cancer, a disease in which cells in the breast tissue grow out of control. As they develop, they may spread beyond the original site resulting in secondary malignant growths called metastasis. Approximately 264,000 women and 2,400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States. Of those cases, approximately 42,000 women and 500 men will ultimately succumb to the disease.

There are many factors which may attribute to a person’s likelihood of being diagnosed with breast cancer. While age and family history cannot be ignored, taking charge of your health by working together with your doctor to identify your risk factors and create an action plan may lower your overall susceptibility. Early detection is thought to be one of the best indicators of successful treatment. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer, there are steps you can take to lower your risk.

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Be physically active, eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, get enough sleep, quit smoking, and limit your alcohol intake.
  • Examine your breasts. By examining your own breasts, you can learn what is normal for you and what is not. If you notice any of the following, call your medical provider immediately:
    • A new lump in your breast or breast area that has changed.
    • Pain in your breast or nipple that does not go away.
    • Any change in the shape, feel or color of the skin.
    • A nipple that is very tender or that suddenly turns inward.
    • Fluid coming from the nipple when not nursing a baby.
  • Schedule regular checkups. It is recommended for women to have a clinical breast exam every one to three years starting at age 20 and every year starting at age 40. For women with a family history of breast cancer, your doctor may recommend more frequent exams.
  • Get a mammogram. Regular mammograms are the best tool doctors have to find breast cancer early. Beginning at age 45, women should receive mammograms annually. Women who are 55 and older may transition to screening every 2 years.

For additional information on reducing your risk of breast cancer and other related resources, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Breast Cancer website. For more information on employee resources, please contact worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 10/12/2022
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