Breast Cancer Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual health initiative organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of breast cancer. The first National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was observed in October of 1985 and was founded by the American Cancer Society.

About one in eight women (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. In 2017, an estimated 252,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in US women, along with 64,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.

Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. For women in the US, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer. Approximately 41,000 women in the U.S. will die from breast cancer in 2017.

But there is hope. Death rates from breast cancer have been decreasing since 1989. This decrease is thought to be from the result of advances in treatment, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.

The American Cancer Society provides screening guidelines for women with average risk. At age 40, you may begin yearly screening if you choose. At age 45, you should begin a yearly mammogram. By age 55, you may transition to having a mammogram every other year, or continue with a yearly mammogram, depending on your preference. If you are at higher than normal risk for breast cancer, talk to your primary care provider to discuss the best approach.

Talk to your family about the risks of breast cancer. Schedule your yearly mammogram. A mammogram typically takes about twenty minutes and can save you or your loved one’s life by detecting breast cancer as early as possible.

If you need to find a primary care provider, use our “Find a Doctor” tool online, or call 844.411.UPHS to schedule an appointment. 

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