October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

  • October 19, 2021

Authored by Dr. Robin Mayfield, Lead Physician of Family Medicine at Whittier Street Health Center

It is common place to see an increase in pink colored clothing in the month of October in efforts to spread awareness regarding breast cancer, but many still have questions about the second most common cancer among women. Over 255,000 women in the United States get breast cancer which is caused by uncontrolled growths of breast cells which disrupts your body’s normal process of continually generating new, health cells. These cells that do not replace themselves with new ones develop into tumors which can eventually lead to cancer. The development of a tumor is gradual process that can go unnoticed which makes active monitoring essential to the fight against breast cancer. Knowing the symptoms and consistently preforming mammograms are the best ways to monitor yourself for breast cancer.

What are the symptoms?

• Changes in the size or shape of the breast
• Pain in the area of the breast
• Nipple discharges fluids other than breast milk (including blood)
• A new lump appears in the breast or underarm

While these symptoms are unpleasant and hard to miss it, can take a lot time for them to manifest themselves so it is important to take proactive steps to protect yourself against breast cancer. The most effective preventative measure is regularly having mammograms which is X-ray of the breast which in some cases can detect cancer 3 years before it can be felt by the individual. In the fight against breast cancer, time is the most important tool so early detection is key of the utmost importance. Other measures you can take in preventing breast cancer is by knowing the risk factors which include simply being a woman. 1 out of every 100 breast cancer diagnosis are men, but since this cancer originates in the area of the breast where lactation occurs, women are at a much higher risk. Age is also an indicator as most breast cancer cases are found in women above the age of 50 but everyone still need be aware of their own risk factors.

How can you lower the risk?

• Exercise regularly and maintain a health weight
• Limit alcohol consumption where ever possible
• Breastfeed your children if possible

There are many risk factors surrounding breast cancer so it is important to monitor for risk factors and if you have questions schedule an appointment with our Obstetrics and Gynecology department by calling (617) 989-3129

*Statistics were provided by

A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

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