Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been celebrated every October for the past 37 years ! Breast Cancer Awareness Month started off as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries. The purpose of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to educate women about breast cancer, promote breast cancer screening, and raise funds for research, prevention, and treatment for breast cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. The average risk of a woman in the United States of developing breast cancer is a 1 to 8 chance and the average risk of a woman in the United States of dying from breast cancer is a 1 to 38 chance.
Regular mammogram screenings are the best for early breast cancer detection. Breast cancer is more common in women over the age of 50; however, it is rare but young women can get breast cancer too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention symptoms may include:
- Any change in the size or shape of the breast.
- Pain in the breast area.
- Nipple discharge.
- A new lump in the breast or underarm.
Some reasons why women may get breast cancer are due to:
- Their age.
- Their genetics.
- Reproductive history.
- Dense breasts.
- A family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer.
A few things that women can do to lessen their chances of getting breast cancer is to maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, breast-feed, and limit alcohol and smoking.
Although breast cancer mostly affects women, it is rare but breast cancer can affect men too. The symptoms of breast cancer for both men and women are similar. Most men who get breast cancer are over the age of 60. In 2021, President Joe Biden declared October 17 through October 23 as Men’s Breast Cancer Awareness Week.
Even when the month of October is over, I encourage everyone to continue to educate themselves and the people around them about breast cancer.