Breast Cancer Awareness Month: October

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This October, we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During this month, many campaigns are run to increase awareness and raise funds research.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women behind skin cancer. Fortunately, if found early, breast cancer can be treated.

This cancer can be  prevalent in many people’s lives, whether they have been diagnosed personally or their mother, daughter, sister or grandmother have been diagnosed, it’s not easy. During October, raising awareness of the cancer itself and the measures people can take to detect it early are so important.

Risk factors:

There are risk factors of breast cancer—some of them we cannot control and some of them we can. According to the American Cancer Society, some of the factors that increase your risk of getting breast cancer are:

  • Being a woman: Simply being a woman puts you at higher risk of getting this disease.
  • Physical activity: Continuing to stay physically active after menopause is linked to reduce breast cancer risks.
  • Age: Most breast cancers are found in women age 55 and older. This is a direct correlation to the importance of mammograms (see below).
  • Family History: If you have a close (first-degree) relative that has had breast cancer, like your mom, sister or daughter, your chances of getting it double.

Prevention:

Although there is no true preventative measure you can take to avoid breast cancer, there are many things you can do to detect it early.

  • Mammograms: It’s recommended by the United States Preventative Services Task Force that if you are 50 to 74 years old, you should be getting a mammogram every two years. If you are 40 to 49 years old, you should talk to your doctor about when to start getting mammograms.
  • Weight management: Getting to and staying at a healthy weight has been linked to reduce the chance of breast cancer after menopause.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol: Even low levels of alcohol intake have been linked to increase your chances of getting breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends women have no more than 1 drink a day (if they drink).

What you can do to help:

There are many organizations that are dedicated to spreading the word about breast cancer awareness, preventative steps, risks and raising money for research. Here are three additional ways you can help:

To learn more about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s website.

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