Breast Cancer Awareness Month occurs every October since 1985. Through its strategic partnerships and successful organized charity events, the awareness month has raised millions of dollars for research, which ultimately helped increase the survival rate in women who have detected breast cancer in its early stages. In fact, the five-year survival rate is now 98%. Here are some helpful tips to aid in early detection!
Know the Risks
- Aging – Your chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases as you age. One out of eight women who are 45 years or younger are diagnosed with breast cancer, while 2 out of 3 women who are 55 years or older will be.
- Family History – It’s imperative to be aware if a direct family member has been diagnosed with breast cancer. If your mother, daughter, or sister has been diagnosed with it, your chances double.
- Alcohol Consumption – Alcohol has been linked to numerous types of cancers and breast cancer is no different. Women who have one drink a day have a very small increased risk, while those who drink two to five drinks a night have about 1½ times the risk.
Starting in the early twenties, women should know the importance and even the limitations of self exams. While it’s not a foolproof plan for detecting the disease, it can help detect abnormalities. Early detection is key.
The best way to detect breast cancer is to get a mammogram, which is essentially an x-ray of your breasts. There are two types:
- Screening – Looks for breast disease in women who appear to have no breast problems
- Diagnostic – Diagnoses breast disease in women who have breast symptoms or an abnormal result on a screening mammogram
Screening for breast cancer occurs when there appears to be no problem at all. However, if something is detected through a screening, the more thorough diagnostic mammogram will be utilized. The more often you to get these procedures, the less you have to worry. Again, the important stat is, if detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98%. That’s pretty high, but it’s always nice to shoot for 100%.
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