You may start to notice many pink ribbons in the weeks ahead. October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign where many organizations come together to bring attention and education on this disease. Breast cancer is one of the most common and deadly cancers among American women. With screening, increased awareness and improved treatments however, better outcomes are possible.
Learn more about this disease and what you can do to improve your chances to prevent it or find it early.
- Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the U.S. will get breast cancer at some point.
- Breast cancer that is found early, when it’s small and has not spread, is easier to treat successfully.
- Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel is an important part of breast health. If you notice any changes in your breasts it’s important to talk to your doctor.
- Most breast lumps are benign and not cancerous. However, some benign breast lumps can increase your risk of getting breast cancer. Any breast lump or change needs to be checked by your doctor.
- The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A painless, hard mass that has irregular edges is more likely to be cancer, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded or even painful.
- Not all types of breast cancer cause a lump. According to the American Cancer Society, other symptoms of breast cancer include: swelling of all or part of a breast, skin irritation or dimpling, breast or nipple pain, nipple retraction,redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin, nipple discharge.
- Research shows that women who have regular mammograms are more likely to have breast cancer found early, less likely to need aggressive treatment like surgery to remove the breast (mastectomy) and chemotherapy, and are more likely to be cured.
- Although there’s no sure way to prevent breast cancer, there are several ways that you can decrease your risk such as, maintaining a healthy body weight, being physically active and limiting or avoiding alcohol intake.
It’s important for you to talk with your healthcare provider to understand your individual risk of breast cancer. Some women may need additional screening based on different risk factors. Know your breast cancer facts and help yourself or a loved one reduce the impact of breast cancer.