PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Naval Hospital Pensacola (NHP) is taking the opportunity to educate patients about the dangers of breast cancer and the importance of getting checked.
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 230,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and approximately 40,000 died from it. Approximately 2,300 men were also diagnosed with breast cancer last year.
"The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and getting older" said Michelle Wilkes, breast health specialist, NHP. "The best defense against breast cancer is early detection with a breast self-exam, clinical breast exam and a mammogram. Think of screening exams as an important gift for yourself and your loved ones."
A mammogram can often detect breast cancer long before it can be felt and usually years before physical symptoms appear. If detected early, breast cancer treatment can be less invasive and more successful. Some warning signs of breast cancer include a lump in the breast or armpit, nipple discharge, any change in the size or shape of the breast or pain in the breast.
While October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it's important that women, and men, regularly check for lumps or abnormalities around their breasts. If something doesn't look or feel right, contact your physician or Medical Home Port Team as soon as possible.
"Treatment is more successful and better tolerated the sooner it is started," said Lt. Cmdr. Jada Leahy, a general surgeon at NHP. "You know your body best; if you find something that doesn't look or feel right, contact your physician and get it checked out."
If a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, NHP has a certified breast cancer patient navigator available to assist with the treatment and recovery process. Wilkes, who was the first breast cancer navigator in Pensacola, will ensure beneficiaries receive everything they need, both physical and emotionally.
"Fighting breast cancer is not just a physical battle, but an emotional one as well," said Wilkes. "I am here, along with the staff at NHP, to help those diagnosed with breast cancer through a very stressful event in their lives."
Throughout the month of October, NHP will be posting facts and information about breast cancer on its Facebook page. The hospital will also be hosting several events throughout the month to raise awareness on breast cancer including a Breast Cancer Awareness Walk on Oct. 20 at 11:30 a.m.
The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women starting at the age of 45 and every other year for women 55 and older. Patients are encouraged to speak to their physician about breast cancer screening and personal risk factors. Beneficiaries enrolled at NHP can call their Medical Home Port Team through Central Appointments at 850-505-7170 to schedule a mammogram or the Radiology Department now offers walk-in mammograms without an appointment.
For more information, visit https://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy..
For more news from Naval Hospital Pensacola, visit www.navy.mil/local/nh_pensacola/.