A Guide to Breast Health and Wellness as We Age
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so our CCRC Sussex County, NJ team decided it’s the ideal time to talk about senior breast health!
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the result of abnormal, malignant cell growth in breast tissue, and is the second most common cancer affecting women after melanoma. The American Cancer Society estimated that over 231,000 women in the USA alone would be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2015, with 40,290 of those cases proving to be fatal.
The risk of breast cancer in seniors – What you need to know
Several risk factors make it more likely for someone to contract breast cancer, and many of these are especially relevant to seniors. These factors include:
- Menopause occurring after the age of 50
- Long-term use of oral contraceptives
- Post-menopausal weight gain
- No pregnancy/Pregnancy after age 30
- Genetic history of breast cancer
Other risk factors to be aware of include adolescent weight gain, radiation exposure to the chest region as a child, start of menarche before age 12, and increased breast tissue density.
Senior health and wellness tips to reduce the risks of breast cancer
As with most cancers, early detection is key to treating and surviving breast cancer, so the best tip we can give you is to keep up with regular screening with your physician. The U.S. Preventative Services recommends that women aged 50 to 74 attend biennial mammography screenings (one every second year) as these can detect the cancer before symptoms start to show.
Clinical breast exams are also recommended at least every three years, and you can perform a self-exam on your own, carefully feeling the breast for any lumps. If any are found, it’s best to see a doctor for a more thorough checkup as soon as possible.
If you are especially high-risk for breast cancer, speak to your physician about a more detailed detection process, as they may recommend more frequent mammograms or MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging).
Other tips for helping to reduce risk factors include:
- Limit alcohol to recommended intake.
- Stop smoking.
- Lose any excess weight.
- Commit to a healthy diet and exercise plan as recommended by your physician.
Comfortable living for independent seniors at our CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey
Bristol Glen, an independent senior living community based in Sussex County, provides comfortable living arrangements and services that free up seniors’ time to enjoy life.
Contact us to find out more about our CCRC and our assisted living facilities in Sussex County, NJ, and our amenities and services, please visit our website at https://umcommunities.org/bristolglen/ and book your visit today.