SHELBYVILLE, IL – October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to reaffirm our commitment to fighting breast cancer and to remind ourselves and others the importance of prevention and early detection.
Breast cancer can develop in women of every age, race, and ethnic group. According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will be affected by breast cancer. Breast cancer in men is not as common, but it does happen, affecting about 2,000 American men each year. Fortunately, the mortality rate for those diagnosed with breast cancer has decreased significantly due to early detection.
HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital (GSS) encourages women to take charge of their breast health by following these important breast cancer prevention tips:
Self-check. Starting at age 20, women should do a monthly self-breast exam. Visit www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam for more information.
See your physician regularly. Women ages 20-40 should have a breast exam by a physician or nurse practitioner every three years, and annually thereafter. If you are at high risk because of family or personal history, you should see a physician every six months starting at age 25.
Get a mammogram. Mammograms should be done every one to two years for women age 40 or older and begin at age 30 if you are at high risk.
Know your family history. Women who have a first-degree relative or other close relatives who have had breast cancer may be at increased risk of developing these cancers. When determining your risk due to a family history, it is important to look at the number of women and/or men in your family who have been diagnosed and the age at which they were diagnosed. Talk to your physician about your family history and discuss what you should be doing for prevention and screening.
Breastfeed. Women who breastfeed their babies for at least a year in total have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
Develop healthy habits. Eat low-fat foods and lots of fruits and vegetables. Stay close to the weight your doctor says is right for you and exercise regularly. An increased physical activity, even when begun later in life, reduces overall breast-cancer risk by about 10 percent to 30 percent. Limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day and refrain from tobacco use.
If diagnosed with breast cancer, a physician will likely recommend a combination of treatments depending on the type of cancer, the stage of cancer and the overall health of the patient.
Common ways of treating breast cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy.
If affected by breast cancer, Good Shepherd encourages women to ask about the Vickie Wagner Breast Cancer Assistance Fund. Sponsored by the GSS Foundation, this fund helps Shelby County women as they actively seek treatment. To learn more about the fund, please call 217-774-3961, ext. 2460.
About HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital
Since its inception in 1916, HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville (GSS) has been dedicated to excellence in healthcare for those living and visiting their communities. GSS has accomplished this by providing comprehensive health services and meeting the needs of patients served through their compassionate care, business integrity and community responsibility. GSS provides a 24/7 emergency department that is fully staffed by physicians and highly-trained nurses, and also features inpatient and outpatient services, including a 24-hour laboratory and an imaging department that meets today’s highest standards for diagnostic imaging technology. GSS has an advanced surgery department and an acute inpatient care unit. Dedicated to being a hometown hospital, GSS’ home health and rehabilitation departments are committed to excellence with a team of professional nurses and therapists providing a variety of medical services and rehabilitative therapies, all designed to help patients heal in their own environment. The group of visiting specialists in the outpatient clinic works closely with GSS to help keep the healthcare services local even if a specialized procedure or exam is required. GSS strives to be the first choice for the community’s healthcare needs. For more information about HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, visit www.hshsgoodshepherd.org.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high-quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 local systems and physician practices in Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visitwww.hospitalsisters.org.