Meritus News



Reminders about Breast Health

October 23, 2023 - Your Health Matters

Ah, the Friday night lineup of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Family Matters and the drama of Cory and Topanga on Boy Meets World. Sound like a TGIF you remember? If so, then it’s time to listen up… We won’t make you relive your youth (or try and make you feel old, we promise), but’s time to prioritize another kind of appointment on your calendar – your mammogram.

Breast cancer is a concern that touches the lives of countless individuals. Thankfully, the landscape of breast cancer detection has evolved significantly. It's no longer an unexpected, grim discovery with little hope of recovery, as highlighted by Kristy Hose, a nurse practitioner at the Meritus Center for Breast Health.

 Preventing breast cancer begins with adopting healthy habits. By staying physically active, moderating alcohol consumption, and choosing nourishing foods, you can improve your chances of keeping this disease at bay.

 "Similar to life's uncertainties, with breast cancer, some aspects are within your control while others are beyond your influence," Hose wisely points out.

 Certain risk factors can increase your susceptibility to breast cancer, such as age, personal and family medical history, dense breast tissue and poor lifestyle choices. The good news is that a proactive approach to healthy living and understanding your risks, coupled with regular screenings, can be your defense against breast cancer.

 It's crucial for both men and women to familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it's essential to promptly contact your healthcare provider:

 Common symptoms (applicable to both men and women):

·         Detectable lumps, firm knots, or unusual thickening

·         Changes in the skin texture, such as dimpling or puckering

·         Alterations in the appearance of your nipple, such as redness, scaling, or inversion

·         Unanticipated nipple discharge

Common symptoms (specific to women):

·         Swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening of the breast

·         Changes in the size or shape of the breast

·         Development of an itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple

·         Nipple retraction or changes in other areas of the breast

·         New, persistent pain in a specific area

Screening is a pivotal tool in early breast cancer detection. A mammogram, which is essentially an X-ray image of the breast, is the primary method used by doctors to identify early signs of breast cancer.

 The Meritus Center for Breast Health follows the National Cancer Comprehension Network, which are as follows:

·         Breast awareness starting at age 18

·         After age 25 but prior to 40, clinical breast examination (physical exam by a healthcare provider) every 1-3 years

·         After 40, annual clinical breast examination

·         Individuals should undergo breast cancer risk assessment by age 25

·         Annual screening mammogram starting at age 40 for average risk  

·         Consider supplemental screening for high risk individuals

 At Meritus Health, dedicated experts are committed to providing high-quality healthcare services to women across Western Maryland and surrounding areas. 

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Kristy Hose, CRNP

Meritus Center for Breast Health