Join us in celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. Next to skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, with about 1 in 8 women developing cancer during her lifetime. However, if found and treated early, many women can beat breast cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, "there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States." In addition, they report that in 2013 about, "232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women, 64,640 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer), and 39,620 women will die from breast cancer."
What can you do to raise breast cancer awareness this month? Perform or advocate for regular breast cancer screenings. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends:
- Mammogram. Mammograms are the best method to detect breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. If you are age 50 to 74 years, be sure to have a screening mammogram every two years. If you are age 40–49 years, talk to your doctor about when and how often you should have a screening mammogram.
- Clinical breast exam. A clinical breast exam is an examination by a doctor or nurse, who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps or other changes.
- Breast self-exam. A breast self-exam is when you check your own breasts for lumps, changes in size or shape of the breast, or any other changes in the breasts or underarm (armpit).
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