October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Published 4:04 am Saturday, October 7, 2023

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October isn’t just about fall weather, pumpkin spice, and Halloween candy – it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Cancer affects an estimated one in eight U.S. women each year and 2.3 million women around the world.

Each year in the United States, about 240,000 women get breast cancer and 42,000 women die from the disease (www.cdc.gov). That’s why it is important to raise awareness and encourage women to seek early detection testing.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in 1985 and aimed to educate women about breast cancer and why early detection tests were so important. One of the key goals of breast cancer awareness is to promote mammograms as a resource for fighting cancer.

Mammograms are the best way to discover cancer in its early stages and prevent it from growing and causing symptoms. Mammography employs an x-ray to examine the breast for signs of cancer. Another form of screening, a Breast MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), is often used alongside mammograms and it uses radio waves and strong magnets to take detailed pictures of the breast.

Some symptoms of breast cancer include any change in the size or the shape of the breast, pain in or around the breast, or a new lump in the breast or underarm.

To lower the risk of breast cancer, it is important to take care of your health. Try to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. Keeping up a daily routine of healthy eating and exercising is sometimes easier said than done, but is worth it to lower the risk of cancer.

The CDC also recommends not drinking alcohol, or at least drinking in moderation. Lastly, look into your family history to see if breast cancer is common. Knowing ahead of time that you might be predisposed to breast cancer can help you plan and manage your health more efficiently.

For anyone local who is concerned about developing breast cancer, Whitfield Regional Hospital offers mammogram testing and an appointment can be set up at any time. The hospital can be reached at 334-289-4000.