What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women. One in eight women will get breast cancer at some point in their lifetime (source).  However, despite the prevalence of the disease, the good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it is found and treated early. Here are the important facts to know about Breast Cancer during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer

  • Each year in the United States, more than 240,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease.
  • Women under 50 account for 25% of all breast cancer cases, and they tend to have higher mortality rates.
  • On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and 1 woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes.
  • Getting a mammogram can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer by 30-40% among women ages 40 to 70.
  • A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray exam of the breasts to look for changes that are not normal.
    • If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them.
    • If you are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every two years. You may also choose to get them more often.
    • Women with breast implants should also have mammograms.
  • Symptoms that you can detect yourself can include:
    • any change in the size or the shape of the breast
    • pain in any area of the breast
    • nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood)
    • a new lump in the breast or underarm
  • Men also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. Less than 1% of breast cancers occur in men.

Your first step in your personal fight against breast cancer starts with a conversation. Speak with your doctor about your risk. If you have any family history of cancer, in particular breast or ovarian cancer, share this information with your doctor. You can discuss a schedule for when to get mammograms based on your health, age, and family history. Take action and do what you can to prevent breast cancer this October!

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