October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – a month dedicated to educating women (and men) about symptoms of breast cancer, the importance of early detection, and healthy lifestyle choices to lower a person’s risk of being diagnosed. Behind skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 1 in 8 women in the United States develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. The ACS also predicts that in 2015, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
So, let’s chat and chew about when you should begin screening, as well as risk factors that may affect your chances of detecting breast cancer.
Despite the high numbers breast cancer affects, many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. It is highly encouraged that women (age 40+) have scheduled mammograms—the screening test for breast cancer—especially women ages 50-74, who should be screened every two years. It’s important to note however, that while it’s more common in women, men are also susceptible to breast cancer. Nearly 2,000 men are diagnosed each year as well.
While the causes of breast cancer are still unknown, there are many risk factors that can increase your chance of it developing.
Some unavoidable risk factors include, but are not limited to:
- Family history
- Race and ethnicity
When it comes to lifestyle risk factors, the list includes but is not limited to:
- Alcohol consumption
- Lack of exercise
- Poor diet
- Being overweight / obese
Visit the American Cancer Society’s website for a more in-depth look at risk factors for breast cancer. Also, feel free to check out this Healthy Living list provided by Susan G. Komen, which highlights positive lifestyle choices to help lower your risk of breast cancer.
During October, there are many ways you can get involved to help raise awareness of breast cancer. You can take part in a fundraising event or start one of your own, participate in a walk for the cure, or simply educate yourself and others about early detection and prevention! To help get you started, check out these Breast Cancer FAQs provided by NationalBreastCancer.org.
Friendly reminder: Members of the Compass Rose Health Plan (women age 35 and older) are covered at 100% for annual routine mammograms. See the 2016 FEHB Plan Brochure for more information.