As the month of October begins, it’s important to take a moment and remember each of the lives we have lost at the hands of breast cancer. We must also make time to recognize both the progress that has happened over the past year and how much more work needs to be done. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to share some early detection techniques and preventative best practices you can utilize to ensure a healthier lifestyle.
Breast Cancer by the Numbers
Everyone knows someone who has battled with breast cancer. But it may still be difficult to comprehend just how far reaching this disease truly is. Globally, there were 684,996 deaths from breast cancer recorded by the World Health Organization in 2020. This means that every 13 minutes a woman dies from breast cancer, according to the National Breast Cancer Coalition.
And that’s only the mortality rates — breast cancer diagnoses are far more prevalent. The National Breast Cancer Coalition estimates that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her life. For 2021, this translates to nearly 300,000 estimated new cases. And recurrence numbers are also alarming, with approximately 20% to 30% of survivors experiencing a recurrence at some point.
Early Detection Matters
It’s well known in the medical community that early detection is one of the most critical components of successful treatment for most cancers, including breast cancer. Finding and diagnosing breast cancer quickly means there is a greater chance of catching the cancer when it is still small and hasn’t spread to other parts of the body.
While it may be intimidating to get tested for breast cancer, it’s the smartest move for your future. And you shouldn’t wait for any symptoms to do it. Many women who have breast cancer don’t report any lumps or telltale signs ahead of time. So regular screening is your best bet to stay safe.
Understanding Your Risk
Certain people are naturally at a greater risk for breast cancer than others. Women, for instance, are diagnosed at far greater rates than men. Age is also an unavoidable risk factor for breast cancer, as is family history, which can be one of the most accurate indications.
Still, there are still some measures within your control. By staying as healthy as possible, you can lower your risk. The American Cancer Society recommends maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and limiting alcohol intake as steps you can take.