Taking Care of the Two Bs – Breasts and Brain

Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October is celebrated around the world to bring awareness to the disease and to encourage early detection screenings.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States after skin cancer. An early diagnosis of breast cancer increases the chance of successful treatment.

Some warning signs of breast cancer include:

  • Pain in breasts
  • New lumps
  • Change in the size, shape, or texture of breast
  • Thickening or swelling of breast
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)

As other conditions can cause these warning signs too, it is important to consult with your physician for an evaluation, even if a recent mammogram was normal.

Early Screening Matters

Breast self-exams should be performed at the same time every month, once in the shower and again on the same day lying down. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” For more information on how to perform a self-breast exam, click here.

Additionally, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., recommends women 40 and older should have mammograms every year or two, while those below 40 and have risk factors should consult their physician on the frequency. Mammograms are the best tool for early detection of breast cancer–up to three years, according to the CDC–as it shows lumps before they can be felt.

Just as breast cancer screenings are encouraged for early detection of breast cancer (before symptoms arise), early and regular cognitive tests are also important to detect early signs of cognitive impairment. Up to 60 percent of people who develop dementia later show multidomain impairments in their early stages, which is why cognitive tests like Savonix are crucial as they test across 13 cognitive domains. Digital cognitive tests like Savonix can also detect mild cognitive impairment 93 percent of the time.

Who Gets Screened?

The American Cancer Society reported that in 2018, 39 percent of women between the ages of 50 and 74 who have no health insurance had a mammogram in the past two years. And 75 percent of women in the same age range with health insurance had a mammogram in the past two years. In stark contrast, only 16 percent of those 65 and older receive an annual cognitive assessment during their Medicare Annual Wellness Visit.

With the Alzheimer’s Association reporting that women in their 60s are more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s over the course of their lifetime than breast cancer, women should be incorporating preventative measures (if not doubling up!) for dementia just as they do for breast cancer.

Ways to Lower the Risk

Here are five ways to lower your risk of breast cancer:

  • Limit alcohol
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise regularly
  • Control your weight
  • Maintain a healthy diet

Another reason to follow these health tips? They also help reduce the risk of dementia. In fact, the Lancet Commission reported that up to 40 percent of dementia cases globally can be prevented if lifestyle changes like these are made. So why not care for both your breasts and brain at the same time?

Take Care of Your Two Bs!

Let this October serve as a reminder to take care of your two Bs – breasts and brain!

While Savonix can’t help you with breast exams, we can help with brain tests.
Click here to take a brain test.

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For breast cancer resources, click here.


References

Breast Cancer Statistics. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/statistics/index.htm

Breast Cancer: What You Need to Know. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/pdf/BreastCancerFactSheet.pdf

Livingston, G., Huntley, J., Sommerlad, A., Ames, D., Ballard, C., Banerjee, S., Brayne, C., Burns, A., Cohen-Mansfield, J., Cooper, C., Costafreda, S. G., Dias, A., Fox, N., Gitlin, L. N., Howard, R., Kales, H. C., Kivimäki, M., Larson, E. B., Ogunniyi, A., Orgeta, V., … Mukadam, N. (2020). Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. Lancet (London, England), 396(10248), 413–446. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30367-6

Breast Cancer. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20352470

Breast Cancer Facts and Figures 2019-2020. (2019). American Cancer Society. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures-2019-2020.pdf

Women and Alzheimer’s. (n.d.). Alzheimer’s Association. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers/women-and-alzheimer-s

2020 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. (2020.). Alzheimer’s Association. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf

Breast Cancer Resources. (n.d.). National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/about-breast-cancer/early-detection/breast-cancer-resources

Breast Self-Exam. (n.d.) National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam

Mammogram. (n.d.). National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/mammogram

Breast self-exams. (n.d.). Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/breast_center/treatments_services/breast_cancer_screening/breast_self_exam.html