October is breast cancer awareness month…a time where we help raise awareness for the disease, discuss current research and developments, provide ways to help with prevention and outline all treatment options currently available. According to the National Cancer Institute, almost 298,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 43,000 will die of the disease in 2023. Most people associate breast cancer with only women…but there is an estimated 2,800 men that are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer and 530 will die of the disease this year.
Breast cancer, which accounts for 15% of all cancers, is the most common type of non-skin cancer in women in our country. It is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in American women.
Breast cancer comes in many forms:
- Ductal carcinoma, which is the most common form, begins in the cells of the ducts.
- Lobular carcinoma is cancer that begins in the lobes and is found more often in both breasts than other types of breast cancer.
- Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type in which the breast is warm, red, and swollen.
Some of the main risk factors for women are:
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Overweight and obesity
Some of the main risk factors for men are:
- Radiation exposure
- High levels of estrogen
- Family history
- About 1% of breast cancer diagnoses are males
What is breast cancer screening?
Screening involves checking your breasts before there are any signs of cancer. There are many types of screening including:
Mammograms – these are x-rays of the breasts. For many women, mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. Currently, a mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer for most women of screening age.
MRI – An mri is a more in-depth type imaging device to screen more high risk patients.
Self awareness – Being familiar with how your breasts look and feel can help you notice symptoms such as lumps, pain, or changes in size that may be of concern. These could include changes found during a breast self-exam. You should report any changes that you notice to your doctor or health care provider.
The benefit of screening is finding cancer early, when it’s easier to treat.
There are numerous events and charities you can donate your time, efforts and money to help fight breast cancer. We need as many people we can involved to help tackle this terrible disease. Any efforts are greatly appreciated and helpful to the cause.
Let’s try to inspire each other, spread the message and make a change is someone’s life. Breast cancer touches all of us in some way, shape or form and together we can help conquer it!
Show your support:
Did you know that there is more than one shade of ribbon?
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, there are four specific ribbons:
- Hot pink: inflammatory breast cancer
- Teal and pink: hereditary and gynecologic cancers
- Pink and blue: male breast cancer
- Teal, pink and green: metastatic breast cancer
Wear your ribbons in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month and help us all conquer cancer for good!