Breast Cancer Awareness: The Facts

breast cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness month is a strong initiative for Cool Gear as we’ve been a long time supporter of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. With October just around the corner, it’s time to start talking about the girls – yes, those girls. And while October shouldn’t be the only time you remember to check in with the ladies, it’s a great excuse to learn more about early prevention and the facts.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is defined when malignant cancer cells form in the tissue cells of the breast.

The following facts are statistics based within the United States.

  • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed for women (worldwide), with approximately 246,660 women diagnosed each year in the US.
  • Breast cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death among women, approximately 40,450 deaths this year. (The leading cause of cancer death in women is lung cancer.)
  • Although rare, approx. 2600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year, with 440 deaths.
  • Since the 1990’s, mortality rates have decreased by approx. 37% due to early detection and improved treatment.
  • There are over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors alive within the US today.

Breast Cancer affects women of all races, heritage, and all levels of modernization.

There is no specific known cause as to why one woman is affected and another is not; but what we do know is that breast cancer is caused by damage to a cell’s DNA, which then mutates the cell. We do not know what initially causes the DNA damage, but many believe it’s linked to genetic factors, external/environmental factors, or a combination of the two.

Genetic Factors:

  • Breast cancer occurs almost 100 times more in women vs men.
  • 2 out of 3 women are diagnosed with invasive cancer after age 55. Fewer than 5 percent of women are diagnosed under the age of 40.
  • Breast cancer is diagnosed more in caucasian women than other races.
  • If there is a direct family history of Breast cancer, you have a higher risk of being diagnosed in the future; this risk increases if your relative was diagnosed under 50 years old.
  • Your risk increases if you have had abnormal breast cells in the past, or if you’ve detected breast cancer in one breast.
  • Women who started menstruation before age 12, started menopause after 55, late aged birth, or never giving birth can increase your chances of breast cancer.
  • Gene mutations, such as BRCA1 & BRCA2 can increase risk. This needs to be determined by a genetic test.
  • Dense breast tissue can make lumps harder to detect; ask your doctor about your density at your next mammogram.

External Factors:

  • Laziness: Lack of physical activity can increase risk.
  • Bad Eating Habits: A diet high in saturated fat (think cheese, beef, butter, meats) lacking fruits & veggies, increases risk.
  • Being overweight or obese increases your risk.
  • Frequent alcohol consumption can increase your chances of breast cancer.
  • Receiving radiation therapy to your chest before age 30, increases risk.
  • Combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause can increase risk.

Throughout the month of October, we will be focusing on breast health, early detection, personal stories, and awareness. We would love to hear your own thoughts, opinions, and personal stories throughout the month, in an effort to foster a safe, supportive community.

Resources:

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-facts

http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/FactsandStatistics.html

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