Is there a party somewhere? Everywhere we look, we can spot silky pink fabric twisted into elegant ribbons.
Although these ribbons are beautiful and festive, most people know that the disease they represent is anything but a party.
October is breast cancer awareness month, and the statistics may seem boring…but cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. And of that, breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer.
Although 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, men are at risk too. With all diseases, our best chance at surviving is early detection. Follow these early detection tips:
1) Self-examination: Many physician visits originate from the discovery of a lump or oddity. Take the time to listen to your body and recognize any abnormalities by performing monthly self-examinations.
2) Mammogram: For those women who have low or average risks, the mammogram is the most common procedure for early detection. The American Cancer Society recommends one every year starting at age 40 and continuing as long as the individual is in good health.
3) MRI: In certain cases, the self-exam and the mammogram may both miss the detection. If you are at a higher risk, ask your doctor for an MRI which will more accurately show the involved area.
4) History: One of the most important considerations is family history. In those families who have a history of breast cancer, testing for mutated genes may be appropriate. Talk closely with your physician and make him/her aware of your risks.
Unfortunately, this disease does not discriminate or only affect patients with a higher risk. As October unfolds, encourage your grandmother, mom, sister, friend, daughter and any other woman in your life to schedule a mammogram.
Annual mammograms are our first line of defense against this life-robbing cancer. Let’s make a commitment to follow the suggestions of the experts and get ourselves healthy, and when we prevent this disaster from affecting even one life, we can consider those pretty pink ribbons a reason for a party after all.
Kelly Kinney, RPh
Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy – Rusk, TX
Here’s a question you probably haven’t considered – are you at risk for a pneumococcal disease?
In other words, do you suffer from lung, heart, liver or kidney disease?
Here are some more questions you should ask…
- Do you have a disease that affects your immune system such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or a missing or damaged spleen?
- Are you over age 65?
- Do you smoke?
Answering yes to any of these questions may indicate that you are at an increased risk of contracting a disease caused by the bacteria streptococcus pneumoniea, a bacteria commonly found in the nose and throat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 900,000 people a year contract lung infections from this bacteria resulting in 400,000 hospitalizations and up to 63,000 deaths. While these figures are sobering, there is one simple way to fight back against this microbe that is wreaking so much havoc.
Are you ready? Get vaccinated! That’s right, there are currently two available vaccines that guard against pneumococcal infections. Which vaccine type you will receive depend on factors like your age and current health conditions. Vaccines, like the pneumococcal vaccine, are often your best defense against illness. And with flu season fast approaching, the pneumococcal vaccine can be paired with your annual flu shot which is recommended for all persons over 6 months of age.
If you have questions about whether or not you should receive the pneumococcal vaccine or which vaccine you should receive, talk to your doctor or your Brookshire Brothers Pharmacist. Invest in a healthier you by taking proactive steps to decrease your chance for illness.
Exercise. Eat Healthy. Get plenty of rest. Get vaccinated!
Matt Baker, PharmD
Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy – Lufkin, TX