Keeping Breast Cancer At Bay

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” Today is the day to stare down breast cancer and decide that we are stronger and smarter, and we will never live in denial about our health.

Of course, it won’t be easy.

“Breast cancer poses a threat to nearly every woman in every corner of the United States. Many of us can name friends and family affected by the disease. Fortunately, with early screenings and medical research, breast cancer is no longer a sudden discovery with little hope of recovery,” according to Kristy Hose, nurse practitioner, Meritus Center for Breast Health.

Breast cancer prevention begins with healthy habits — you can beat the odds by being physically active, limiting alcohol intake and eating food that nourishes your body.

“Just like life in general, with breast cancer, there are some things in your control and some things that are out of your hands entirely,” Hose said.

Here’s a list of potential risk factors to be on the lookout for:

  • Increased risk after age 40
  • Personal medical history
  • Family medical history
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Poor lifestyle habits

“Healthy living, knowing your risks, and getting screened often will keep breast cancer at bay,” Hose said.

Both men and women should recognize the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. If you find yourself with any of the symptoms listed below, contact your doctor right away.

Common symptoms (in both men and women):

  • Lumps, hard knots or thickening
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Changes to your nipple, such as redness, scaling or a nipple that turns inward
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly

Common symptoms (in women only):

  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Itchy, scaly sore or a rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

At Meritus Health, we strive to provide women throughout Western Maryland and surrounding areas with high-quality, trusted health care services. Our women’s health services department offers comprehensive breast health care in addition to OB/GYN and maternity services. Find out more at