Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness Image

October is breast cancer awareness month. Spread the word about early breast cancer detection to save lives.

Each year October is a special time used to raise awareness about breast cancer and its impact on our society. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women in the United States (U.S.), behind skin cancer. In the U.S., each year approximately 264,000 women get breast cancer and 42,000 women die from breast cancer1. Most cases of breast cancer are found in women 50 years old or older but breast cancer can also affect younger women.

It is also important to know that breast cancer is not just a woman’s disease. It is not as common, but men can also get breast cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 out of every 100 breast cancers that are diagnosed in the U.S. are found in a man1.

Early Detection is Best

If breast cancer is diagnosed early then it is easier to treat. Oftentimes this means before symptoms start or the cancer is large enough to be felt. A mammogram is an X-ray taken of the breast that is used to look for early signs of breast cancer. Mammograms are the best method of detecting breast cancer early.

The age and frequency at which to start getting mammograms will vary depending on your medical and family history. Some women may start having mammograms as early as 40 years old. In most cases, a mammogram will be recommended every 1 or 2 years. Talk with your primary healthcare provider to see what would be best for you.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

There are three main factors that increase your risk of breast cancer, being a woman, being older, and having changes in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Unfortunately, these are nonmodifiable risk factors, meaning they are not something you can change. To help lower your risk of breast cancer it is recommended to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, do not drink alcohol or drink alcohol in moderation, breastfeed your children if possible, and if you are on hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills talk to your doctor about the risks.

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Some people may have no symptoms of breast cancer. Other times there may be a change in the size or shape of the breast, nipple discharge, breast pain, and / or a lump in the breast or underarm. If you have any of these symptoms, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

The Bottom Line

Breast cancer affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year. Mothers, wives, sisters, and more lose their lives to breast cancer every year. Help raise awareness of the importance of early detection of breast cancer by talking with friends and family. See your healthcare provider regularly and stay up to date with your mammogram screenings.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, September 26). Breast cancer awareness feature. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 5, 2022

Posted in: Women's Health

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