Every year in October, we acknowledge Breast Cancer Awareness. According to the American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “In the United States, one in eight women will develop breast
cancer by the age of 75 years.” It is good to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, complete
monthly self-breast exams, and educate the women around you.
Breast cancer can be detected early in individuals who do monthly self-breast exams at home, as well as
those who keep up with annual screening appointments. Awareness of certain breast changes,
including changes in the skin of the breast, or unusual bleeding or discharge from the nipples, can alert
your provider to the possibility of breast cancer. There may also be a thickening or a lump in the breast
that may warrant further examination or testing.
Screening for breast cancer varies by age. Before the age of 40 years, it is important to be aware your
own anatomy and complete monthly self-breast exams. A yearly clinical breast examination should also
be performed by your provider. After the age of 40 years, yearly mammograms are also recommended.
If there is a significant family history of breast cancer, yearly screenings may start earlier than age 40
depending on age of diagnosis of the family member with the cancer history. If there is a family history
of breast cancer, a genetic screening test may also be ordered by your provider.
Many lifestyle changes can reduce the risk for breast cancer. Avoiding smoking is a great way to reduce
your risk for any type of cancer. Limiting sun exposure, including tanning beds also reduces the risk of
cancer. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle improves your overall health and longevity. This includes staying
at a healthy weight, regular exercise, and a healthy diet that includes lean proteins, fresh fruits and
vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. Limiting intake of alcohol, saturated fats, and refined sugars
also assist in keeping you as healthy as possible.
Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today! Call ProCare Women’s Clinic today to schedule your
annual breast examination and mammogram at 432-640-2491
Avelino Garcia, M.D., Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology
375 North Sam Houston Avenue
Odessa, Texas 79761