To Your Health: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Oct 14, 2020

In the early 1990s, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Estee Lauder and Self magazine began distributing pink ribbons at events to promote breast cancer awareness.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  

Today, most people are aware of breast cancer, but many don’t have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point. The good news is many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find the disease early when it’s easier to treat.

There has been some confusion in recent years about when women should start getting mammograms and how often they should get them.  The American Cancer Society suggests women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health. However, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force states that women ages 40-49 should talk with their doctors about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them. Family history and breast tissue density will be considered when making this decision. 

However, health experts do agree that women ages 50 to 74 need to be sure to get a mammogram every 2 years.

Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours had breast or ovarian cancer. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get mammograms.

Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is the Director of Health Communication at Southeast Missouri State University. 

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