October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you haven’t already seen an increase in the amount of pink you see each day, you will soon. Since the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded in 1985, there’s been a definite rise in the public awareness of breast cancer.
However, while there’s been a definite rise in the general awareness of breast cancer in the last 30 years, many can still benefit from a greater understanding of the facts and ways to lower risk. We’ve compiled a list of powerful statistics, as well as some simple methods to lower your own risk of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Facts & Statistics:
- In the United States, nearly 1 in every 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
- While notably more rare, about 2,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer in men are expected to be diagnosed in 2016.
- Over time, more cases of breast cancer have been found in earlier stages due to mammography screening rates.
- The 2 most common risk factors for breast cancer are being a female and getting older.
- In 2016, it is estimated that there will be 246,660 new U.S. cases of invasive breast cancer among women.
Lowering the risk of breast cancer
Even though there’s no cure or clear understanding of the cause of breast cancer, these methods below can help lower your risk. And, while these won’t be applicable to every woman, they will collectively have a positive impact:
- Maintain a healthy weight: this can lower the risk of breast cancer, especially after menopause.
- Stay Active: when you are physically active for at least 30 minutes each day, you lower the risk of breast cancer – especially when coupled with a healthy diet.
- Stop smoking: when you smoke, you increase the “risk of heart disease, stroke, and at least 15 cancers – including breast cancer.”
- Eat well: enjoy a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables and keep your alcohol consumption moderate/low or nonexistent.
- Avoid birth control pills & post-menopausal hormones: birth control pills, especially after age 35, slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. Also, if you’re taking post-menopausal hormones, it’s recommended to be for the shortest time possible.
- Breastfeed: if possible, breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer.
While mammography doesn’t help to prevent cancer, it can help find the early stages of cancer, when it’s the most treatable. Regular mammograms for women typically begin at age 40.
Sources: Siteman Cancer Center | BreastCancer.org | Susan G. Komen