October Health Month: Breast Cancer


KNOW THE RISKS

From genetics to lifestyle, it's important to be aware of the most common factors that lead to breast cancer. You may be at a higher risk if:

  • You are a woman age 55+
  • Your family has a history of breast cancer
  • You have previously had breast cancer or certain benign breast conditions
  • You are Caucasian or African-American
  • You have dense breast tissue
  • You have had no children or had your first child after age 30
  • You had your first menstrual period before age 12 and/or went through menopause after age 55
  • You smoke and/or consume alcohol regularly
  • You are overweight or obese after menopause

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 246,660 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. The key to fighting back is early detection. Don't wait for the symptoms. Be proactive and get screened early and often. But above all, know that you're not alone.

ABOUT 1 WOMAN IN 8 WILL DEVELOP BREAST CANCER IN HER LIFETIME.

FIGHT BACK WITH EARLY DETECTION

As a nation, we are more aware than ever about breast cancer. And the most effective way to truly fight back starts with you. When you commit to staying proactive with regular screenings, you have a much greater chance of detecting breast cancer early, which improves treatment success and survival rates. Waiting for symptoms may increase chances of the cancer advancing and becoming more difficult to treat.

LET'S SHRINK THE NUMBERS

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. It's never too late to get screened.

  • About one woman in eight in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime.
  • Typically two of three invasive breast cancers are found in women age 55+.
  • Almost half of all new cases and nearly two-thirds of deaths from breast cancer occur among women age 65 or older (Center for Disease Control, 2013)

KEEP YOUR RISK LOW

The chance of developing breast cancer increases as you age, but there are things you can do to reduce your chances and stay healthy and in control.

  • Maintain a healthy weight by eating healthy and exercising
  • Avoid or limit alcohol consumption
  • Do not smoke

KNOW THE FACTS - AND MYTHS - ABOUT BREAST CANCER

  • Myth: Women with small breasts have less chance of getting breast cancer.
  • Fact: There is no connection between your breast size and your risk of breast cancer.

  • Myth: Overweight women have the same breast cancer risk as other women.
  • Fact: Being overweight or obese does increase your breast cancer risk.

  • Myth: Most breast lumps are cancerous.
  • Fact: Roughly 80 percent of lumps in women's breasts are benign (noncancerous).1

  • Myth: Wearing antiperspirant increases your risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Fact: The American Cancer Society disagrees, but admits that more research is needed.

  • Myth: Men do not get breast cancer; it affects women only.
  • Fact: Actually, 2,190 men per year are diagnosed with breast cancer.2

1 "25 Breast Cancer Myths Busted," Health.com, 2015.

2 "Breast Cancer Myths," nationalbreastcancer.org, 2015.

THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY RECOMMENDS:

  • Women age 40+ have a mammogram every year.
  • Women in their 20s and 30s have a clinical breast exam every three years.
  • After age 40, women have a breast exam by a health professional every year.
  • Starting in their 20s, women perform regular breast self-exams.
  • Women with higher risk get an MRI and a mammogram every year.

A GROWING ARMY OF SURVIVORS

Thanks to a tremendous increase in awareness and a commitment to early detection, the numbers are improving. Right now, there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., and our goal is to continue advancing that number.

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