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Somerset County Board of Commissioners Advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness
Early Detection Is the Best Protection
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that women stay up-to-date with their breast cancer screenings.
Post Date: 10/21/2021 4:17 PM
SOMERVILLE, NJ – Recently, the Somerset County Board of Commissioners signed a proclamation recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. “Go Pink” month is an annual campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection through mammography. Research has shown that mammography is one of the best available methods for early detection leading to a better prognosis for women diagnosed with the disease.

Routine mammography can help detect breast cancer in its early stage when the cancer is more treatable, and early detection increases a woman’s 5-year survival rate to 99%. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), delaying breast cancer detection may lead to a later-stage progression of the cancer spreading, and treatment becomes less effective. Click here for screening guidelines.

Not only is early detection important but being aware of certain risk factors that can increase the chances of developing breast cancer is key. Some risk factors are related to lifestyle and can be modified to decrease the risk. Other risk factors are genetic and cannot be modified, which also increases the risk for breast cancer but does not guarantee that someone will develop breast cancer.

Genetic risk factors that cannot be modified include:

Born a female
Getting older
Inherited gene mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2
Having a close blood relative with breast cancer
Personal history of breast cancer or certain breast conditions
Dense breast tissue
Long menstrual history
African American ethnicity
Eastern European Jewish ethnicity (Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity)

Lifestyle risk factors that can be modified are:

Physical inactivity
Alcohol use
Previous chest radiation
Post-menopausal hormone therapy (PHT)
Recent use of hormonal contraceptives
Never having children or having a first live birth after age 30
Not breastfeeding
People with breast cancer may not have all of the same symptoms, and others may not have any symptoms. Women should talk to their doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms:

Warning signs of breast cancer are:

New breast lump or mass
Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if there is no lump)
Skin dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
Breast or nipple pain
Nipple retraction (turning inward)
Nipple or breast skin that is red, dry, flaking, or thickened
Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
Swollen lymph nodes (Sometimes breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast is large enough to be felt.)
Do not wait to get a routine mammography. Talk to a healthcare provider about when breast cancer screening is recommended. Click here for more information.

Somerset County Residents Uninsured or Underinsured
For those who are underinsured, uninsured or who cannot afford cancer screening, the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection (NJCEED) program provides free or low-cost cancer screenings. Somerset County residents can find out if they are eligible to receive this service by contacting the Zufall Health Center in Somerville at 908-526-2335.

Click here for more information about breast cancer awareness and the Somerset County Department of Health

Spreading Breast Cancer Awareness
The Somerset County Department of Health and the Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition support spreading awareness of breast cancer.

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