HOPE: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

october breast cancer awareness month

Every October people around the globe wear pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The work of breast cancer research and screening is year-round, but historically a particular emphasis has been placed in October.

Supporting breast cancer awareness month is a cause we can all get behind. Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. A women’s odds of developing breast cancer are 1 in 8 based on data from the American Cancer Society.

Know the Symptoms

For the most detailed information on symptoms, it is recommended that you view the CDC’s list of symptoms.

Common symptoms include:

  • Change in size or shape of the breast
  • Pain in any portion of the breast
  • Nipple discharge (can include blood)
  • New lump in the breast or underarm

Work to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk

Maintaining a healthy weight can go a long way in lowering your risk of any type of cancer. The CDC also recommends you drink alcohol in moderation (if at all) and breastfeed your children if possible.

A key reason breast cancer develops is because of changes in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. If you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, talk to your provider about the risks associated with these products.

Who Should Receive Screening for Breast Cancer?

The official recommendation from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force is that women 50 to 74 years old receive a mammogram every two years. If you are younger than 50, particularly those in the 40 to 49 age category, should discuss with their providers at their annual visit if they should receive a screening sooner.

Is Breast Cancer Treatment Improving?

Research on breast cancer treatment is ongoing. Fundraising for breast cancer research helps keep new information and the development of new drugs moving forward. Deaths from breast cancer have declined, but it still remains a leading cause of cancer death.

According to Cancer.net, the “5-year relative survival rate for women in the United States with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer is 91%. The 10-year relative survival rate for women with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer is 85%.” Non-metastatic means that breast cancer is not spreading to other parts of the body than where it was initially found.

The continued efforts of researchers and the general public to fight breast cancer can aid in continuing to improve these numbers!