Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual worldwide campaign that increases awareness on multiple levels about the most common cancer diagnosed in U.S. women each October.
What Is Breast Cancer?
Cancer develops from uncontrolled mutations and cell divisions within the body. For example, breast cancer first develops in the breast but may spread to other parts of the body. The common warning signs of breast cancer include new lumps in the breast or armpit, thickening or swelling of the breast, pain in the breast, abnormally red skin surrounding the nipple and breasts, nipple discharge, and any shape or size changes in the breast.
Who’s At Risk?
Although anyone can get breast cancer, those most at risk are people 50 and older, individuals with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, people with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer, and women with dense breasts.
Why Breast Cancer Awareness Month Is Important
It promotes screening and self-examinations
We’re all busy, and we can easily sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. Breast Cancer Awareness Month reminds women (and men) that part of their regular self-care routine should include monthly breast cancer exams and to schedule regular mammograms.
Breast cancers found during screenings are usually smaller and still confined to the breast area, while breast cancer found because of symptoms tends to be larger and more likely to spread beyond the breast. Therefore, the size of breast cancer and how far it has spread are some of the most critical factors in predicting the prognosis.
The knowledgeable and compassionate breast health specialists at Vail Health’s Shaw Cancer Center provide expertise in mammography and other imaging services for early detection.
It helps raise life-saving funds for breast cancer research
Breast cancer happens 365 days of each year, but the focus generated each October unites communities and organizations to fundraise for breakthrough breast cancer research. As a result, financial resources provide more state-of-the-art equipment for diagnosis and treatment that saves lives.
It celebrates survival and marks significant accomplishments
For the nearly four million breast cancer survivors in the United States and their loved ones, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a cause for celebration. Spreading awareness has increased screening, contributing to a 29 percent reduction in the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
Early Detection Saves Lives
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is not just about wearing pink. It’s about educating yourself, your friends, and your family on the risks and signs of breast cancer. It’s also about providing support to those diagnosed with or receiving treatment for breast cancer. And, finally, it’s about honoring those lost to the disease. Talking openly about breast cancer empowers people to act.
Early detection can save lives. It is recommended that women 40 and over receive regular annual mammograms. If you have a lump or another change, please see your primary care physician, no matter your age or gender. Contact our Breast Imaging Center in Edwards or Frisco to schedule diagnostic breast imaging.