Tips for promoting breast cancer awareness
September 15, 2009
Breast cancer is a prolific disease with an estimated 192,370 new cases diagnosed this year in women and 1,910 new cases diagnosed in men, according to the National Cancer Institute.Here are five simple ways to celebrate breast cancer awareness in your own life:
Know your risks
The risk of developing breast cancer is not the same for all women. According to the National Cancer Institute, age is the single most important risk factor for breast cancer. But research has also shown that personal and family history of breast cancer, alterations in certain genes, reproductive and menstrual history, body weight, level of physical activity and alcohol consumption are among the factors that affect a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about your risk of developing breast cancer.
Practice healthy habits
While there are some breast cancer risk factors that women cannot avoid — such as age and genetics — there are also steps that women can take to help prevent breast cancer on their own. Women should know that exposure to tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption are risk factors for breast cancer, as well as other cancers. In addition, research suggests that women can decrease their risk of cancer simply by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Make small changes now to embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle tomorrow. You may want to start by adding a brisk lunchtime walk to your day, adding more fruits and vegetables and limiting fat and alcohol in your diet.
Schedule your annual mammogram
Evidence shows that early detection of breast cancer greatly improves a woman’s chance for successful treatment, and scheduling regular mammograms is the most effective way of catching cancer early. The American Cancer Society recommends that all women age 40 and older have a screening mammogram every year, and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast.
Know that there is hope
Thanks to early detection and improvements in treatment, more women are surviving breast cancer, remaining disease-free and living longer, healthier lives.
Today, nearly 90 percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer will survive their disease at least five years, up from 75 percent 35 years ago, according to the National Cancer Institute. Moreover, the death rate from breast cancer in women has decreased by 2.2 percent annually between 1990 and 2004, according to the American Cancer Society.
Today, there is a flourishing community of 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, and there is a great deal to be hopeful about.
Empower yourself by learning as much as possible about breast cancer. While October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the NBCAM organization wants to remind you that breast cancer awareness and education is important all year long.
Learn more at www.NBCAM.org.