October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October 2, 2022
The first Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicked off in October 1985 with former First Lady and breast cancer survivor Betty Ford, who helped launch a call to action for women across the country. The events invited women to educate themselves about breast cancer and to talk openly about breast health.
Today, 3.8 million breast cancer survivors and those living with breast cancer use October as an occasion to share their personal cancer stories amid celebrations, mobile screening and fundraising events, and memorials for those who have lost battles with the disease.
Due to broad education efforts since that first Breast Cancer Awareness Month, earlier detection with annual mammograms and advances in treatment options, survival rates from breast cancer have continued to increase since the early 1990s. We can’t let down our guard. Please use this October to learn more about the risks of breast cancer and the steps you or your loved ones can take to support good health.
According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is the second-most common cancer in women, and 1 in 8 will develop breast cancer at some point in her life. In 2022, 30 percent of all new cancer diagnoses made in the United States will be breast cancer. Among American women, 287,500 will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and another 51,400 more with non-invasive breast cancer this year. And while women carry more risk than men, anyone with breast tissue can develop cancer. An estimated 2,710 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed in 2022 (National Breast Cancer Foundation [Link nationalbreastcancer.org]).
Today’s mammograms can detect abnormalities in breast tissue that cannot be seen or felt with a breast self-exam. Mammography detects 65 percent of breast cancer cases before the cancer spreads outside the breast. Before cancer spreads, the five-year survival rate is highest at 99 percent. Early detection is key to maintaining a high survival rate. Because changes in breast tissue can happen any time, continue breast self-exams between annual mammograms. Knowing what is normal for your own breasts can help you communicate with your primary care provider if changes do occur.
Honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month
What is the best way to honor Breast Cancer Awareness in October? Schedule a mammogram!
Whether you’re over 40 and heading to your first mammogram, you’re under 40 and have risk factors for breast cancer, or if you’re simply overdue, October is the perfect month to take action for your breast health.
If a mammogram is not right for you right now, or if you are a man with a family history of breast cancer, learn how to complete a breast self-exam monthly.