What You Need to Know During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Categories: The Insider

"Knowledge is power" has never been more true than when it comes to breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many organizations and charities work to raise awareness and to spread the word that early detection is key to overcoming the treacherous disease.

What is breast cancer?

When cells in the body begin to grow uncontrollably, it causes cancer. When this happens in the breast tissue and the cancerous cells form a malignant tumor, it’s diagnosed as breast cancer.

Who has breast cancer?

About 1 in 8 American women (12%) will develop breast cancer at some point in her life. In 2015 alone, 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women. 2,350 men will also be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

Who’s At Risk?

White women are at a higher risk for developing the disease than any other race or ethnicity. However, African American women have a higher mortality rate and tend to be prone to breast cancer at a younger age. Contributing factors are diet and lesser access to affordable healthcare; which is key to early detection. Asian, Hispanic and Native American women are less likely to be diagnosed and suffer mortality from breast cancer.

I keep hearing about “early detection." Why is it so important?

Early detection involves conducting routine screenings for lumps in the breast. Cancer in general can be even more dangerous and harder to treat once it spreads to other parts of the body.  When diagnosed early, it can be contained in the breast and treated quickly. If you wait until you are symptomatic, it is usually already in an advanced stage.

What is a mammogram and when should I get one?

A mammogram is an x-ray exam of the breast that is used to detect and evaluate breast changes. Most doctors suggest that you get your first mammogram around age 40, unless there is a family history of breast cancer.

Where can I learn more? 

For more information about breast cancer and early detection, talk to your doctor. For helpful guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention visithttp://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/.

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