Health

Ochsner Shares Tips for Managing Breast Health

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By Ochsner Medical Center
According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2017, an estimated 255,710 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. – 3,320 of those are expected to be in Louisiana women.  
“While these numbers are intimidating, there are a number of things individuals can do to ensure overall breast health,” says Dr. Jeanenne Brignac, primary care physician at Ochsner Health Center – Central. “Knowing the signs and symptoms of how breast cancer cancer manifests is an important step in early detection and diagnosis. 
Decrease Your Overall Risk 
1. Get regular mammograms. Ochsner offers 3D mammography (also called tomo-synthesis) that can detect smaller breast cancers than traditional mammography and help with early diagnosis. Early diagnosis can dramatically increase chances of survival. 
2. Know your family history. Knowing your family history of ANY kind of cancer for 2-3 generations and sharing it with your doctor is critical. Today, new testing and preventive measures – such as DNA testing that looks at 25 different genes – can help with detection and diagnosis. 
3. Live healthy. More than one-third of Louisianans are obese. Obesity greatly increases your risk for breast cancer. Health food choices, weight management and regular exercise increase overall quality of life and decrease cancer risk. 
4. Limit alcohol. More than one alcoholic drink a day increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer. 
Know the Signs & Symptoms
Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
Skin irritation or dimpling
Breast or nipple pain
Nipple retraction (turning inward)
Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
“Knowing the signs and symptoms cannot replace regular mammograms,” says Dr. Brignac. “At age 40, start talking to your doctor about when you should begin screening and what your risk factors may be.” 
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN (or Primary Care Physician), call 225-754-5088 or visit www.ochsner.org/info to schedule online.
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