October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and many are gearing up to spread the word on breast cancer screening and treatment. Breast cancer is the fifth leading cause of death in women 40 years of age and above. However, all women, at any age, are at risk for breast cancer. Men too, but this is rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2006 (the latest year for which statistics are available), 191,410 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40,820 women died from the disease.
While more white women get breast cancer, more black women die from it. Unfortunately, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women of all combined major racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
When it comes to prevention, knowing is half the battle...but it's a start. To help lower your risk of getting breast cancer here are few tips:
- Stay physically active by getting regular exercise.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid using hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or find out the risks and benefits of HRT and if it is right for you.
- Limit the amount of alcohol that you drink.
- If you are 50+, get a mammogram. Check with your health professional if you have any symptoms or changes in your breast, or if breast cancer runs in your family. He or she may recommend that you have mammograms before age 50 or more often than usual.