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Breast Cancer Basics: Eight Facts Everyone Should Know

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The month is finally October– a time associated with autumn colors, pumpkin spice, and all things spooky. However, as the temperatures drop like the leaves, this month also serves as an important reminder of the disease that has affected over 3.8 million women in the United States alone.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

So, in support of awareness, here are eight basic facts about breast cancer everyone should know:

1. Cancer is a disease in which a malignant (potentially dangerous) tumor forms as a result of rapid, uncontrollable cell growth due to a mutation. 

Breast cancer is a specific type of cancer that develops from cells in the breasts. The stages of breast cancer are determined by tumor size and the severity, if any, of spreading.

2. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

The facts about breast cancer prevalence are shocking. Did you know every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States alone?

3.No one knows the exact cause of breast cancer, but risk factors can be identified.

Though all breast cancer results from damage to a cell’s DNA, doctors cannot identify a precise cause. There are risk factors though; a few common include:  

  • Age. Breast cancer is typically diagnosed in women over 50-years-old.
  • Family history. If you had a close relative– parent, sibling, child– diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk doubles
  • Alcohol Consumption. Studies show moderate alcohol consumption can increase your risk of developing breast cancer by up to 50%.
  • Breast Density. If you have a heavier chest, you now have another risk– on top of back pain, of course. 

4. Lumps in the breast or armpit are the most common recognizable symptoms of breast cancer.

You can give yourself an at-home breast self-exam to feel for any abnormalities. However, there are other breast cancer symptoms. 

5. To be diagnosed, patients go through a breast cancer screening.

Breast cancer screenings are tests done to determine the presence and severity of cancer. Tests include clinical breasts exams, mammograms, or MRIs. 

6. Surgery is the Most Common Treatment of Breast Cancer.

However, many forms of treatments exist. Patients may need one form of treatment or a combination.

7. Men can get breast cancer too.

While breast cancer in men is rare, women account for over 95% of breast cancer patients, it is possible.

8. Pink ribbons symbolize breast cancer awareness.

Breast cancer awareness was first associated with the pink ribbon symbol for Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. With a history dating to the late 1970s, this symbol is widely recognized today. 

Staying informed can be the difference between life and death; early detection can increase someone’s survival rate to 93% or higher. 

October may be Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but the risk is year-round. Your knowledge should be too. 

Want to get involved with raising awareness? Start here

Kelly Wilcox

Georgia Southern '22

Kelly Wilcox is a senior Writing & Linguistics and Philosophy double major at Georgia Southern University. She has a passion for writing in all forms; however, her areas of focus are essay writing--articles and features, editing, and new adult fiction. When she isn’t writing, Kelly enjoys caring for her two cats, betta fish, tank snail, and ferret. She also values spending quality time with her loved ones when possible. Her dream is to write and edit content for a lifestyle, entertainment, or news-focused publication while writing romantic NA fiction during her spare time. Want to see more of Kelly? IG: @kelly_wilcox_c //Twitter: @kellywilcoxc //Gmail: [email protected]
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