October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
Breast cancer affects one in eight women during their lives. No one knows why some women get breast cancer, but there are many risk factors.
Risks that you cannot change include:
Age - The risk rises as you get older.
Genes - Two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, greatly increase the risk. Women who have family members with breast or ovarian cancer may wish to be tested for the genes.
Personal Factors - Beginning periods before age 12 or going through menopause after age 55.
Other risks include obesity, using hormone replacement therapy (also called menopausal hormone therapy), taking birth control pills, drinking alcohol, not having children or having your first child after age 35, and having dense breasts.
Symptoms of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in size or shape of the breast, and discharge from a nipple. Breast self-exams and mammography can help find breast cancer early, when it is most treatable. One possible treatment is surgery, which could include a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. Other treatments available are radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.
Men can have breast cancer, too, but it is rare.
The 10-year survival rate is 83%, and the 15-year rate is 78%. If the cancer is located only in the breast, the 5-year relative survival rate of people with breast cancer is 99%. Sixty-one percent (61%) of cases are diagnosed at this stage. If the cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 85%.
To all the survivors out there, this month is about you! We celebrate your survival and endeavor to help others survive through awareness, education, early detection, and treatment.
(Content: NIH Image: Personalized Cause)
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