It is October which also means it is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many people know that October is the month in which national and local charities spread the message and increase the awareness of a disease that so many people are affected by. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been an annual international health campaign since 1985 and it continues to grow each and every year. The Elizabeth Grady School would like to share some facts about breast cancer that you may not know or may want to share with your friends and family.
The Three Main Risk Factors
Breast Cancer has three main risk factors: gender, age and significant family history.
GENDER: Although men can develop breast cancer, women have a greater risk for developing the disease. Women are 100 times more likely to develop breast cancer than men.
AGE: The older the person, the higher the risk. More than 80% of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 60.
FAMILY HISTORY: Although not the most common factor, 5% of those diagnosed with breast cancer have inherited a faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
Start Health Behaviors Early and Prevention
There are many different ways to keep yourself healthy and engage in behaviors to prevent harmful cancers such as breast cancer. These simple actions can create a huge impact on your health and in your life. Eat a lot of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Limit alcohol consumption to help in overall disease prevention. Watch your weight and be active. Engage in activities that you enjoy! Dance, walk, run, go to the gym… do whatever keeps you moving and makes you happy.
Overall, the great news is that since 1991 breast cancer deaths are down 34%. More than 8 out of 10 will survive breast cancer beyond 5 years. Each year we spread awareness so that we can see more and more people survive this disease.
Self examination and mammograms are ways to detect early signs of breast cancer. Remember that early detection saves lives.