October is Breast Cancer Awareness month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while it's important to be aware of the risks and symptoms of breast cancer all year long, this month is our opportunity to learn more and get involved in the fight. 

The numbers are staggering. It’s estimated in 2022 that:

  • 28,600 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,500 Canadian women will die from it.
  • This represents 14% of all cancer deaths in women in 2022.

Early detection is key

Early detection of breast cancer is key because it may not cause any symptoms in its early stages. Signs and symptoms often appear when the tumour grows large enough to be felt as a lump in the breast or when the cancer spreads to surrounding tissues and organs.  

Breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the world, so it is crucial that you’re aware of the most common symptoms of breast cancer so you can catch it early on:

  • A new lump in the breast or armpit 
  • Irritation, redness, flaking or dimpling of the breast skin
  • Thickening or swelling in part of the breast
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Pain in any area of the breast
  • Pulling in of the nipple
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)

Although these symptoms may not necessarily indicate that you've developed breast cancer, you should always visit the doctor if you notice anything unusual.

Reduce your risk: While there is not a way to prevent breast cancer, there are some measures to take that can lower your risk:

Get a mammogram: Regular screenings will help your healthcare professional detect cancer sooner. And with all cancers, the sooner you detect it, the better your overall chances are for survival.   

Regular self-exams: Being familiar with what's normal for your body will help you notice any changes early on. If you do detect something out of the ordinary, it's always best to make an appointment with your doctor.

Make healthy lifestyle choices: A balanced diet and regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, which lowers your risk of developing cancer.

If you are living with cancer, your Express Scripts Canada Pharmacist is on call 24/7 to answer your questions on medications and treatments from the privacy of your home. Read our blog, See Express Scripts Canada: The Pharmacy of Tomorrow, Today.

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