According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the most recent estimates for breast cancer in the United States are for 2011 and include the following:
About 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women
About 57,650 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be found (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer)
About 39,520 deaths from breast cancer (women)
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer. Chances are, you know someone who has or had breast cancer.
October has been designated National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The NBCAM organization's goal is to educate and empower women to take charge of their own breast health.
What does that mean for women? The ACS recommends:
As early as your 20s women should practice regular self-breast exams to identify any changes.
Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a regular exam by a health expert at least every 3 years. After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health expert every year.
Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year and should keep on doing so for as long as they are in good health. While mammograms can miss some cancers, they are still a very good way to find breast cancer.
While a breast cancer diagnosis can be a very scary thing, catching the disease early increases your odds for survival. For more information, visit www.cancer.org, or talk with your healthcare provider.
This month, take a moment to consider the facts on breast cancer. Then be proactive. It's the best gift you can give yourself.