Nearly 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed around the world in 2012.
Early detection, improved treatment methods, access to healthcare and heightened awareness have helped people achieve a greater chance of survival. Yet, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in women.
Awareness and Risk Factors
Everyone should do their part to bring more awareness to the risk factors and screening process for women and men. Some key risk factors for women include:
- Age (breast cancer risk increases with age)
- Family history of breast or ovarian cancer (mother, sister or daughter)
- An inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 breast cancer genes
- Younger age at onset of first period (before age 12)
- Older age at onset of menopause (age 55 or older)
Once risk factors have been identified, the next step is to strive for early detection. By practicing monthly self-breast exams and healthy behaviors, the risk of breast cancer can be reduced and chances for survival can be increased.
Monthly self-breast exams are highly recommended. However, if you do find a lump, do not panic but do go see your doctor immediately. Oftentimes, lumps are not breast cancer but something less serious. Breast tissue is naturally lumpy, and varies from woman to woman. An annual mammogram is recommended for average risk women starting at age 40. Your doctor can help determine if you should be screened earlier than age 40, based on your family history and risk factors.
Lowering Your Risk
There are three things you can do to help reduce your risk of breast cancer:
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Exercise regularly
- Limit alcohol intake
Support and Research
Susan G. Komen is a leader in providing grants to support resources and research to help fight breast cancer. Starting with a promise from one sister to the other, Susan G. Komen has invested approximately $2.5 billion working to end breast cancer in the U.S. and throughout the world with ground-breaking research, community health outreach, advocacy and programs in more than 30 countries.
How Can You Help?
Susan G. Komen provides many ways to help raise funds to support the cause. Whether you’re a runner, volunteer or activist, your involvement helps make a difference. Womensforum.com supports your activism and hopes to see you at a local Race for the Cure in your neighborhood. Go to ww5.komen.org/findanevent.aspx to find an event in your area!
I’ll be at the Lombard Race for the Cure this fall with Womensforum.com as the emcee and motivator, on September 21, 2014.
Chicago Event Details:
Race Site: Yorktown Center Mall, Lombard, IL
6:30am: Event Registration and Packet Pick up
7:30 am: Survivor Parade
8:30 am: 5K Run Start, followed by 5K Walk and 1 Mile Fun Walk
9:30 – 11:00 am: Post Race Party
I hope you’ll share this article with your friends and family and help make a difference by donating or joining the Race for the Cure in your city. Together we can help achieve one sister’s promise to help find a cure and create a world without breast cancer.