Every year, worldwide, October is breast cancer awareness month. Each year, there are nearly 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer, and approximately 450,000 women die from the disease each year. Breast cancer is termed as a malignant tumor developed either in the glandular tissues (the lobules and ducts that produce milk) or in the stromal tissues (the connective tissues that support the glandular tissues).
When detected early, breast cancer has a better prognosis. Therefore, it is very important to get regular mammograms every year, beginning at age 40 for women with an average risk of developing breast cancer. When detected prematurely, treatment aims to remove the tumor through surgery and sometimes uses chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Screening tests can help find breast cancer early when it is easier to treat. For women at average risk of developing breast cancer, the ACS recommends that they have a mammogram every year starting at age 40. Women aged 20-39 should speak with their doctor about when to begin getting mammograms. Women at high risk should get a mammogram and an MRI every year starting at age 30, or 5 years younger than the earliest known breast cancer in their family.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is celebrated each October to bring awareness about the disease. It was first acknowledged by presidential proclamation in 1986 by President Reagan, who designated the entire month of October 1986 as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During this time, various events and fundraising efforts are held to bring attention to the disease and to raise funds for research and support programs. The symbol of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a pink ribbon that represents breast cancer awareness and support.
More than 200,000 women in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and more than 40,000 women are expected to die from the disease. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are introducing some new statistics on breast cancer that have been released recently.
The risk of developing breast cancer some time during a woman's life is greater if she has certain genes that have been linked to the disease, including BRCA1 and BRCA2. If a person with these genes also has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has or had breast cancer, that person's risk of developing the disease is much greater.
Women have about a 1 in 8 chance, or 13 percent chance, of developing invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among American women.
Regular screening mammograms can help find breast cancer early when it is easier to treat. A woman's best chance against getting breast cancer (or any type of cancer) is to be aware, be proactive, take care of her body, and have regular check-ups with a health care provider.
Widespread screening mammography is also credited with saving many lives. In one of the most successful examples, Canadian researchers credit a sharp increase in the number of women who were screened for breast cancer starting in the 1980s with a reduction in deaths from breast cancer by about 30%.
But overall, give them emotional support if you know any women fighting against cancer. Make them know they are not alone in their struggle.
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