Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Categories: Workers' Rights

The month of October is recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The Women’s and Fair Practices Departments salutes those that have survived breast cancer, applauds those that are currently battling this disease and supports the loved ones of those that are suffering.  It is our goal to encourage all AFGE members and their families to get screened for breast cancer regularly.

Often, when people talk about breast cancer, there are always a few common words that are used.  In an effort to make sure that we are all informed, we will take this opportunity to discuss them and point out some interesting facts about breast cancer:

  • Screening refers to tests and exams used to find a disease, such as cancer, in people who do not have any symptoms.
  • Early Detection means using an approach that lets breast cancer get diagnosed earlier than otherwise might have occurred.  Most doctors feel that early detection tests for breast cancer save thousands of lives each year. Visit  to read more about how to implement your early detection plan.
  • Prognosis refers to the outlook of a person with breast cancer. 

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer before age 40 have slightly poorer prognoses than older women - their five-year survival rate is about 82%, compared with 85% among women ages 40 to 74, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Younger women are more likely to have more aggressive tumors and also tend to have denser breast tissue, which makes it harder for mammograms to detect tumors.

Overall breast cancer survival rates may have improved, but not among minority women: In fact, three minority groups — African-American, Native American, and Hispanic women — are all up to 70 percent more likely to die after a diagnosis than Caucasian women, according to a study at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.  Experts believe that this may be attributed to genetics.

Though it occurs mainly in women, but men can get breast cancer too. Many people do not realize that men have breast tissue and that they can develop breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,360 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone.  Of that number, 430 cases will be fatal.

Join AFGE in wearing pink Friday, Oct 24 in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Communications Department will come around to take photos of folks in pink who’d like to be featured on our social media sites. You can also join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags  #ThinkPink and #BreastCancerAwareness.

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