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Early detection and empowerment during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute and TriStar Health focus on early detection and patient empowerment during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

October 26, 2023
And older and younger lady hugging and smiling

October holds a unique significance for those touched by breast cancer. Some choose to don pink attire in celebration, while others quietly reflect on the month's meaning. Some may carry a sense of grief, while others might feel unseen or misunderstood. At the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at TriStar Health, we aim to embrace and normalize this spectrum of experiences and to provide support for you along your journey.

What is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month has a rich history dating back to 1985 when it was established as a national observance in the United States. The campaign, primarily marked by the pink ribbon symbol, was founded with the goals of raising awareness about breast cancer, promoting early detection and advocating for research into its causes and treatments. Over the years, it evolved into a global movement, with numerous organizations, communities and individuals coming together every October to educate, support and empower those affected by breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is also an opportunity to shed light on the importance of mammograms, self-checks and screenings.

Dr. Amanda Morehouse, a dedicated breast cancer surgeon in Sarah Cannon’s TriStar Health division, encourages everyone to follow the appropriate guidelines and not to delay screenings. “As a breast surgeon, I witness the impact of cancer on countless women every day,” says Dr. Morehouse. “By raising awareness and ensuring accessible healthcare, we can empower women to proactively manage their breast health and transform the narrative of breast cancer.”

What you should know about breast cancer

While there are many different symptoms of breast cancer, some people have no symptoms at all. If you come across any signs that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away. They will refer you to an oncologist if needed. Remember, early detection is vital.

Symptoms of breast cancer

  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
  • A new lump in the breast or underarm

Screening recommendations

  • Women, starting at age 40, should get mammograms every year.
  • Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every two years, or they can continue yearly screening.
  • Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.

Lowering your risk

You can lower your risk of breast cancer by making small changes in your daily life, like maintaining a healthy wait, staying physically active and obtaining from drinking alcohol or moderating your drinking. Breastfeed your children, if possible.

If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), ask your doctor about the risks and find out if the medication is right for you. If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, talk to your doctor about other ways to lower your risk.

Regular screenings save lives. If you have questions about which screenings are right for you based on your health history, talk to your doctor.

Breast cancer support and expertise

As we move through Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it's essential to recognize the diverse range of emotions and experiences that can accompany the month.

Whether you're celebrating, reflecting, grieving or feeling unseen, Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at TriStar Health oncology team is here to provide unwavering support on your journey. Our commitment extends beyond awareness — it includes education, early detection and a dedicated team ready to guide you.

Take charge of your breast health, and let us walk this path with you. For all cancer-relation questions, reach out to our clinically trained specialists by calling askSARAH at (844) 482-4812 or visiting askSARAH online. Schedule your mammogram online, or call (615) 342-5018.

October 26, 2023

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