October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is the month every year devoted to wearing your pink shirts and pins and raising awareness for the second-leading cause of cancer death in women: breast cancer. Although improved treatment, early detection through screening and increased awareness has lowered the risk over the last 25 years, there is still much more to be done.
Here are top tips you should know to become more aware and to fight back against breast cancer.
Regular Breast Cancer Screening
Women can have no symptoms at all, or it can be found after symptoms appear. This is why it is extremely important to have regular screening. The earlier the cancer can be found, the easier it is to treat successfully.
The American Cancer Society has these guidelines for women at average risk (no family or personal history of breast cancer) for breast cancer:
- Women between 40 and 44 – This is the age group set for women to start screening with a mammogram every year.
- Women 45 to 54 – This age group should set mandatory mammograms every year.
- Women 55 and older – This group can switch to mammograms every other year or continue yearly checks. You should continue to do checks as long as a woman is in good health.
Common Risk Factors
Here are a few risk factors provided by the American Cancer Society that are associated with breast cancer.
- Drinking Alcohol – Alcohol consumption has a clear correlation with higher risk. Compared to women who have one alcoholic drink a day, those who drink two to three drinks a day have about a 20 percent higher risk.
- Being Overweight or Obese – Obesity increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Risk is 1.5 times higher in overweight women and 2 times higher in obese women compared to lean women.
- Physically Active – Women with regular physical activity have a 10-25 percent lower risk compared to inactive women.
For a full list of risk factors, click here.
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