This October, we honor Breast Cancer Awareness. At least one in every eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Despite earlier detection and improved therapies, recent data shows that over 40,000 women still die from this disease annually.
Each year in October, we see a flurry of pink ribbons, posters and fundraisers – but what can we do on a daily basis to ensure that the fight continues year-round?
First and foremost, we must encourage mammograms. Current guidelines recommend that, for healthy women with no family history of breast cancer, mammograms should start by age 45. However, we know that breast cancer does not occur exclusively in those under the age of 45. This leads us to another important detection tactic, the self-exam. While the guidelines on this practice vary from source to source, the ultimate point is this: it is important to know what your breasts feel like in order to detect any obvious changes. Women are encouraged to begin this practice as early as 20 years old. By ensuring the women in your life are educated about these prevention measures, we can prevent breast cancer together.