October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer affects both women – along with men – and is one of the most common cancers. According to the American Cancer Society Cancer Statistics Center, there are an estimated 290,000+ new cases of breast cancer being diagnosed this year.
Let’s take a look at breast cancer incidents in our own state. According to the American Cancer Society Cancer Statistics Center, there have been over 3,000 estimated new cases of cancer in Wyoming this year, about 15% of which are breast cancer cases. Breast cancer was the second leading cancer-related cause of death between 2015 and 2019!
Early detection is key to fighting breast cancer. Women aged 40 and above should consult with their doctor about when they should begin getting a mammogram as they know your history.
The American Cancer Society recommends the following for women with average risk of developing breast cancer:
- Women between the ages of 40 and 44 have the option to start annual mammograms.
- Women 45 to 54 should get a mammogram every year.
- Women age 55 and older can opt to have a mammogram every other year, or continue annual mammograms.
Additionally, women should give themselves a breast self-exam at least once a month. To lower the risk of cancer, women should stop smoking. Studies have shown that smoking significantly contributes to breast and other types of cancer. Regular exercise, minimal hard alcohol and a healthy diet can also help lower the risk of cancer.
Although this is a month when many healthcare providers, foundations, fundraisers and other events are held to raise the community’s awareness, it’s important that we continue to be self-aware throughout the year.
If caught early, breast cancer can be treatable. To learn more about breast cancer, early detection and treatment, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation website. To learn how to perform a breast self-exam, visit their page here.