October is breast cancer awareness month and the time to be reminded of the importance of breast health. Chances are that we all know someone around us who has had breast cancer. Although the number of breast cancer cases has declined over recent years, still 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. It is responsible for 40,000 deaths per year in the U.S.
Some women are at increased risk for developing breast cancer. These are some factors, which have been associated with a higher risk:
Some factors are known to reduce risk of breast cancer, such as:
Modifying some of the lifestyle factors listed above can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.
Screening for breast cancer will not necessarily prevent breast cancer but early detection increases the likelihood of discovering the cancer and an early stage and therefore increases the chances of being cured.
The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms in all women above the age of 40. Although breast examinations are important, they should be combined with a mammogram.
If you have additional risk factors such as a personal history of breast cancer, certaingenetic mutations (such as BRCA) or extremely dense breasts – your doctor may recommend additional testing such as breast MRI.
Make sure to discuss the best screening option for you at your next visit and make breast cancer awareness an all-year event.