Recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Senior Living Communities

Posted By on October 1, 2023

In 2020, over 2.3 million new breast cancer cases were diagnosed worldwide. However, this represents only a fraction of people affected by this disease. In addition to those diagnosed, their friends and family are also impacted by this diagnosis.

At HarborChase Senior Living, we understand the impact of education and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are uncovering the risk factors, recognizing symptoms, and reviewing strategies to lower breast cancer risk. Together, let’s expand our knowledge and foster the spirit of solidarity we all seek.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Breast cancer is a formidable adversary that knows no boundaries of age and has a reach that extends across generations. Therefore, understanding the tangled web of risk factors woven through this devastating disease becomes crucial to prevention and early diagnosis. 

While we do not know the precise origins of breast cancer, the advancements we make every year create an ongoing list of risk factors we can see to avoid.

  • Age and Gender: While women, especially those over 50, are at a much higher risk, it is essential to note that men can also get breast cancer.
  • Family History: A family history of breast cancer, especially from the immediate family of the same gender (mother, sister, or daughter), may also be a significant risk factor.
  • Genetic Mutations: Like family history, inherited gene mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, can significantly increase the risk of breast cancer.
  • Hormone Levels: Hormones play a part as well. Prolonged exposure to estrogen due to early menstruation (also heavily on the rise), late menopause, or hormone therapy may increase the risk.

Recognizing Signs of Breast Cancer

You’ve likely heard it a dozen times or more: check yourself and do it often. Early detection is vital in treating breast cancer most effectively, and that is why this advice is so common.

Understanding the warning signs can lead to early diagnosis, offering the chance for significantly better outcomes. Be constantly vigilant and look for the following symptoms:

  • Unexplained Lump or Thickening: A new lump or mass in the breast or underarm area is one of the most common early signs of breast cancer. 
  • Changes in Breast Size or Shape: Does something look or feel off in the breast’s size, shape, or appearance? If so, you should be examined by a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
  • Skin Changes: Skin changes of any sort throughout your body is a red flag; the breast is no different. Redness, dimpling, or puckering of the breast skin can indicate breast cancer.
  • Nipple Changes: Any changes in the nipple, such as inversion, discharge, or irritation, should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Lowering Your Risk of Breast Cancer

While some risk factors like family genes are beyond our control, some lifestyle choices can help reduce the risk of breast cancer, as well as give you a healthier life overall. So, here are a few tips to help be proactive in the fight:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess body fat has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, and obesity is one of the fastest-growing diseases in the United States. Engage in a fun physical activity routine and eat a balanced and delicious diet – this can help keep the pounds off and takes a little stress off your mind.
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption: Everything in moderation is essential here. Studies have shown that excessive alcohol drinking can increase the risk of breast cancer. While you enjoy some libations, limit your intake to reduce your risk of breast cancer, liver damage, and more.
  • Regular Screenings: While we get that regular trips to the doctor can be tedious, proactivity could save your life. Get your annual mammograms and clinical breast exams, as they are crucial for early detection.

HarborChase Senior Living Supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In the heart of HarborChase, a genuine commitment to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month thrives. With every step taken, every dollar raised, and every conversation sparked, we contribute to a global melody of change. Throughout October, our senior living communities organize fun and engaging events to raise funds and awareness for organizations like Susan G. Komen

But it is not just about the events; it is about the connections formed, the stories shared, and the sense of belonging that flourish. Let’s celebrate the survivors who find solace in each other’s journeys and the caregivers who find strength in their shared purpose. We believe that coming together as a community can make a difference and support the ongoing fight against breast cancer.

To learn more about HarborChase Senior Living and what our communities have to offer, visit our website or contact a member of our team.