While many people associate October with the arrival of fall weather and traditions, the month is also dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Here's what you need to know about this long-term public health campaign.
What It Is
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a 31-day, nationally recognized holiday that aims to bring attention to and promote education about this condition. It was founded by the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries in 1985. During this time, health care providers may place extra emphasis on understanding the warning signs, risk factors, and side effects of breast cancer to increase public knowledge on the disease.
Why It’s Important
Breast cancer affects one out of eight women in America, with over 276,000 cases diagnosed each year. Of the total, 42,170 pass from the condition, while 100,000 need to have their breast tissue surgically removed to prevent the disease’s spread. While less common in men, it’s expected that there will be about 2,600 new cases of breast cancer among males this year.
However, breast cancer is treatable when it’s caught early. That’s why it’s helpful to take a month each year to focus on preventing the condition. Men should watch for enlarged breast glands, scaling skin on the breasts, and nipple discharge or retraction. On the other hand, women can perform monthly breast self-exams and schedule routine mammograms. By educating people on what they can do to ensure early detection, doctors can hopefully decrease the number of fatal or severe cases every year.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month also supports medical organizations and research facilities that are working toward finding a cure. This month is an ideal time to ask for donations so that they can continue their work in treating and eliminating the disease.
This October, schedule a preventative care appointment with one of the compassionate doctors at Alaska Oncology and Hematology, LLC, in Anchorage. The knowledgeable team will assess your breast tissue and perform a routine mammogram to determine its health. Visit the website to get more information about their services, or call (907) 279-3155 to schedule an appointment.