FOR HEALTH LIVING

OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

Any form of cancer is devastating but with proactivity, we can take steps and precautions to ensure wellness. The month of October is dedicated towards increasing awareness of breast cancer.

  • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • There is a 98% survival rate when breast cancer is detected early in the localized stage
  • It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women
  • It is the second leading cause of death among women
  • Estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the next year
  • Estimated 2,150 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the next year

So what is breast cancer?

Breast cancer occurs when cancer (malignant) cells develop in breast tissue and began to spread throughout the body (this is called metastasis). Breast cancer can happen to both men and women, however, is much more common in women. There are various treatment options available, and if caught at an early stage the cancer is highly treatable with a high survival rate.

What steps can I take to prevent it?

It is still not known what causes cancer cells to develop. However, there are various risk factors, both genetic and environmental, that have been linked to the disease.

Genetic risks factors largely can’t be changed (ie. gender, race, family history, etc.) but several environmental and lifestyle risk factors can be avoided:

  • Exercise! A lack of physical activity has been seen as a risk factor increasing your chance of breast cancer. Make exercise a routine in your day to day schedule and look at it as something fun. Join a gym, find a group fitness class you enjoy or create a workout plan with a friend.

Further Resources about breast cancer

We at the YMCA want to do our part in raising awareness by providing you with a brief outline of the resources the National Breast Cancer Foundation (http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/) has to help fight breast cancer and also share some statistics and presentations to better inform you on what breast cancer is.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Those are staggering statistics. However, there is a 98% survival rate when breast cancer is detected early in the localized stage (when the disease is located in one organ area).

Because the survival rate is so high when breast cancer is detected early, it is imperative that you have an Early Detection Plan (http://www.earlydetectionplan.org/). An early detection plan helps fight breast cancer by being proactive and allowing you to detect the disease in its early stage. Scheduling routine breast self-exams, clinical breast exams, and mammograms are all vital to proactivity.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, which is why it is important to be educated. Beyond the Shock (http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/nbcf-programs/beyond-the-shock) is an educational resource which aims to help those affected by breast cancer understand the disease better. Beyond the Shock offers educational videos, survivor stories, frequently asked questions and answers.