October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women, with 1 in 8 American women getting breast cancer in their lifetime.
In order to support those with breast cancer and/or survivors, October provides a call to action to recognize the importance of breast cancer education, research, and detection.
Raising awareness of breast cancer can save lives. You may be familiar with people sporting a pink ribbon during October, but there are other ways to promote breast cancer awareness. Take this opportunity to learn a few ways to raise breast cancer awareness and protect yourself, friends, and family:
Schedule a mammogram
When breast cancer is detected early, there is a 99% 5-year survival rate. Mammograms can save lives, which is why it’s so important to stay on top of scheduling them.
According to the American Cancer Society, women aged 45-54 should get annual mammograms, while those 55+ can switch to every 2 years or continue yearly screenings. Women with a higher risk of developing breast cancer should get mammograms before age 45.
Share information on risk factors
Some risk factors of breast cancer are genetic or based on age or race, but some are lifestyle choices that can help in preventing the disease. Knowing therisk factors and taking the necessary precautions to avoid or manage them can help you or a loved one lower their risk of breast cancer.
According to John Hopkins Medical center, “forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump.” Breast self-exams can help early detection or identify concerning changes that you can bring to your health care provider. Women are encouraged to perform a self-exam at least once a month. See different ways to perform a breast self-exam here.