Breast Cancer Awareness Month observed in October
Southern Seven Health Department reports that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States about 237,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,100 in men.
In observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month during October, Southern Seven Health Department encourages women, and men, to get an annual mammogram.
Illinois Department of Public Health reports about 41,000 women and 450 men in the United States die each year from breast cancer.
For 2020, the American Cancer Society estimates that over 11,000 Illinois women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, with just over 276,000 nationwide.
Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in American women and the second major cause of death after lung cancer.
One out of eight women will develop breast cancer over the course of a lifetime.
The health department notes that over the last decade, the risk of getting breast cancer has not changed for women overall, but the risk has increased for Black women and Asian and Pacific Islander women. Black women have a higher risk of death from breast cancer than white women.
Studies have shown that a person’s risk for breast cancer is due to a combination of factors.
The main factors that influence an individual’s risk include being a woman and getting older.
In the United States, the average age when women are diagnosed with breast cancer is 61.
Men who get breast cancer are diagnosed usually between 60 and 70 years old.
There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, but there are things all women can do that might reduce their risk and help increase the odds that if cancer does occur, it is found at an early, more treatable stage.
The health department says that you can lower your risk of breast cancer by changing those risk factors that are under your control.
If you limit alcohol use, exercise regularly, and stay at a healthy weight, you are decreasing your risk of getting breast cancer.
Women who choose to breastfeed for at least several months also may reduce their breast cancer risk.
Not using post-menopausal hormone therapy, PHT, also can help you avoid raising your risk.
Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat.
Breast cancer cases occur in women with and without any risk factors, so everyone should be checked regularly.
Talk to your doctor about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you, and when you should have them.
The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program provides free mammograms and Pap tests for women who qualify: women age 35 to 64 and are uninsured. Younger women may qualify if they have symptoms.
To find a site near that provides this free service, call the Women’s Health-Line at 888-522-1282 (TTY 800-547-0466). For more information about breast health, visit www.dph.illinois.gov.