Sadly, almost all of us have been touched by breast cancer in some way, whether it's our own diagnosis or that of a friend or family member. Except for skin cancer, breast cancer remains the most common cancer for women in the U.S., with more than 250,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
But there is good news for Disney Cast Members and Employees: more women than ever are beating the disease and your yearly breast cancer screening is included in your Disney healthcare benefits. Thanks to early detection and ever improving treatments, mortality rates are down. And efforts from everyone can help remind the women in our lives to stay vigilant with breast self-exams and screenings.
Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself against breast cancer:
It is recommended that all women give themselves regular breast self exams to detect lumps and other breast changes.
Not all women have the same symptoms of breast cancer, but some symptoms to look for include:
- Changes in breast shape or size
- Lumps or thickening in the breast or underarm
- Breast pain
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
- Redness, soreness, rash or swelling
- Dimpling, puckering or bulging of the skin
- Inverted nipple (pushed inward rather than outward)
It's important to keep in mind that your breast texture can change throughout your cycle, limps and other breast changes are often benign and a result of something other than cancer. Because symptoms can vary widely, you should contact your doctor with any questions or concerns.
Screening & Early Detection
Some women never have any symptoms at all - making routine screening especially important. Mammograms cannot prevent breast cancer, but they can help catch the disease in its earliest and most treatable stages.
It's important for every woman to consult with her Personal Physician to develop a personalized breast screening plan based on her individual risks, family history, lifestyle and other factors.
Identify Your Risk
A person's chances of developing breast cancer come down to a combination of factors, including gender, age, family history and lifestyle choices, such as smoking and not getting enough exercise.
It may seem obvious, but the biggest risk factor when it comes to breast cancer is simply being a woman. Men account for just 1% of breast cancer patients.
Genetics can drive up risk, too. Some women with a family history of breast cancer will inherit mutations in their genes (most commonly the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes) that can increase their risk of certain cancers. While genetics increase the risk, remember, most women who develop breast cancer do not have a known family history of breast cancer. It can happen to anyone.
Talk with your Primary Care Physician as soon as possible to discuss if you are a candidate for breast cancer screening. Encourage women you know and care for to get screened. If you don't have a personal physician yet, Contact the Member Experience Center. With one call, we can help you find a personal primary care physician and get you scheduled right away. Call (855) 747-7476 today!