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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

While these are some facts about breast cancer in the US:

  • One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
  • Each year it is estimated that over 246,660 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
  • Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 440 will die each year.
  • On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and 1 woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes.
  • Over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the United States today.
  • It is important to know about some of the myths to be dispelled about breast cancer:

Myth – Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.Truth – Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer.  But if you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, it should never be ignored. See your doctor.

Myth – Men do not get breast cancer. Truth – Each year it is estimated that approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die. Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola.  And because awareness among men is less and they are less likely to assume a lump is breast cancer, they too should never delay getting check by their doctor.

Myth – If you have a family history of breast cancer, you are likely to develop breast cancer, too.Truth – While women who have a family history of breast cancer are in a higher risk group, most women who have breast cancer have no family history. Statistically only about 10% of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of this disease.

Myth – If the gene mutation BRCA1 or BRCA2 is detected in your DNA, you will develop breast cancer.Truth –  According to the National Cancer Institute, not every woman who has a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation will develop breast and/or ovarian cancer. But, a woman who has inherited a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 is about five times more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who does not have such a mutation.

Be aware of and in charge of your health by performing routine breast self-exams, establishing ongoing communication with your doctor, getting an annual clinical breast exam, and scheduling your routine screenings.

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