A breast cancer message for men and women

Rayma Scalzo

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I want to take this opportunity to remind you to make sure you get your mammograms. I might also say that my breast cancer, as well as others in our Breast Cancer Support Group, did not show up on a mammogram. Therefore, it is very important to do self-exams and have your doctor do a physical exam at least once a year.

A breast cancer diagnosis today is different than it was years ago. At that time, it was thought of as a death sentence but significant progress has been made in the fight against breast cancer. Today, there are many treatments that are very successful and less invasive than in the past. The main thing is to get it diagnosed early and then go from there.

So often I hear friends say, I don’t have to have a mammogram because I have no family history of the disease. It is true that if your mother, sister, or daughter had breast cancer there is an increased risk of you having it. An estimated amount of hereditary breast cancers, however, account for only five to ten percent of breast cancers.

I recently received a request to address breast cancer in men. Yes, they get breast cancer too! Breast cancer screening is only recommended for some men at higher risk due to an inherited gene mutation or a strong family history. Men should also be aware of the warning signs, including a lump, a hard knot, or thickening in the breast; dimpling, puckering or redness of the skin; itchy, scaly sore, or rash on the nipple; pulling in of the nipple (inverted nipple) or other parts of the breast, and last but not least, a nipple discharge. Please note that these symptoms may also be signs of a benign (non-cancer) breast condition.

Breast Cancer Discussion Group meeting: We have a lot of survivors here at PebbleCreek and we want you to know that we are here for you. Our Breast Cancer Discussion Group will meet Thursday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Capri Room at the Tuscany Clubhouse. We welcome newly diagnosed residents as well as long time survivors. Following the meeting, many of us go to lunch at Toscana’s to get to know each other better. We have a fun group and do a lot of laughing as laughter is an important part of healing.

If you want to find out more about the group, call 623-935-1819 or email me at raymas@cox.net. A special gift for you! We particularly want to hear from residents who are newly diagnosed as we would like to give you a wonderful pillow that will give you comfort following surgery. The PebbleCreek Quilter’s Club generously provides these to us.