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Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

We know that early detection greatly improves your chance of beating breast cancer:  that is why we support Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s aim of creating awareness and increasing education about the risk factors, symptoms and survival rates of breast cancer.

Breast cancer awareness should not only focus on early detection but should look aspects such as treatment plans, doctors, support services and the myths around the disease. It is so important to start talking to our daughters and friends from a young age. Even though it is perceived that the disease affects older woman, younger woman are being diagnosed every year.

Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. Getting mammograms regularly can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.

Symptoms of breast cancer

In addition to having regular mammograms, you should also be on the lookout for any of the following symptoms (even though some breast cancer sufferers experience none of these):

  • Change in the size or the shape of the breast
  • Pain in any area of the breast
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood)
  • New lump in the breast or underarm

If you have any signs that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.

Fast facts about breast cancer

  • Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women develop breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease.
  • Men also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. Each year in the United States, about 2,000 men get breast cancer and about 400 men die from the disease.
  • Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 11% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.

What increases my risk of developing breast cancer?

The main factors that influence your risk for breast cancer include being female, age (most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older), and having mutations in your breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2).  

Other risk factors include:

  • Being younger when you had your first menstrual period
  • Never giving birth, or being older at the birth of your first child
  • Starting menopause at a later age
  • Using hormone replacement therapy for a long time
  • A personal history of breast cancer, dense breasts, or some other breast problems
  • A family history of breast cancer (parent, sibling, or child)
  • Getting radiation therapy to the breast or chest
  • Being overweight, especially after menopause

Most women who get breast cancer have no known risk factors and no history of the disease in their families.

Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat.

Talk to your doctor about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you, and when you should have them.