Spreading the Word about Breast Cancer

The most common cancer among women in the United States is breast cancer. Approximately 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. However, millions of women are surviving this disease thanks to early detection and improvements in treatment.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Most people are aware of breast cancer, but forget to take the steps to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same.

It is still a mystery as to why some women get breast cancer. However, there are a number of risk factors. Risks that you cannot change include:

  • Age – The chance of getting breast cancer rises as a woman gets older.
  • Genes – There are two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 that greatly increase the risk. Women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer may wish to be tested.
  • Personal factors – Beginning periods before age 12 or going through menopause after age 55.

Other risk factors include:

  • being overweight
  • using hormone replacement therapy (menopausal hormone therapy)
  • taking birth control pills
  • drinking alcohol
  • not having children or having your first child after age 35
  • having dense breasts.

Symptoms of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in size or shape of the breast or discharge from a nipple. Breast self-exam and mammography can help find breast cancer early when it is most treatable. Treatment may consist of radiation, lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.

The American Cancer Society is actively fighting breast cancer by helping women get tested, helping them understand their treatment options and to also cope with the physical and emotional effects. Whether you’re trying to reduce your risk of breast cancer, increase the chance of early detection, or coping with a diagnosis, the American Cancer Society has comprehensive information to help you understand your options. To learn more about the American Cancer Society and the fight against breast cancer please visit http://www.cancer.org/healthy/morewaysacshelpsyoustaywell/breastcancer.

Smoking Kills

Smoking has a long, negative history in the healthcare field because of the harmful side effects that come with it. The thing is, most people who smoke cigarettes actually want to stop. A 2011 study showed that 7 out of 10 active smokers wanted to quit. However, this task is not as easy as it sounds. It becomes an ingrained habit that is extremely difficult to change without treatment. With TV commercials, other marketing and education, people are more aware than ever about the negative long term effects of smoking. Pennsylvania has a higher rate than most other states when it comes to cigarette use. Here are a few statistics related to smoking cigarettes:

  • In 2014, nearly 17 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (16.8%) currently smoked cigarettes. This means an estimated 40 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes.
  • Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or 1 of every 5 deaths.
  • More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.
  • Current smoking has declined from nearly 21 of every 100 adults (20.9%) in 2005 to nearly 17 of every 100 adults (16.8%) in 2014

Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

  • Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is nearly one in five deaths.
  • Smoking causes more deaths each year than the following causes combined:
    • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
    • Illegal drug use
    • Alcohol use
    • Motor vehicle injuries
    • Firearm-related incidents
  • More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States during its history.
  • Smoking causes about 90% (or 9 out of 10) of all lung cancer deaths in men and women. More women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer.
  • About 80% (or 8 out of 10) of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are caused by smoking.
  • Cigarette smoking increases risk for death from all causes in men and women.

There are plenty of places to turn to for help with quitting. At MacDonald’s Pharmacy, we want to help provide these resources and tool to our patients.  If you have any questions about smoking cessation or health related concerns, please feel free to talk to our pharmacists. Lifestyle modifications are not easy and you will need a support team to help you stick to your goals. Making the decision to quit is the first step and we can help show you the next steps to take in stopping for good.