October kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of this important time, the RealManage Family of Brands would like to highlight the history of this special time as well as some of the risk factors for breast cancer and what you can do to promote good health and lower your risk of developing the disease.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States behind skin cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimates that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s also important to note that men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer. That's why all people need to be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer and understand the treatment options.
Let’s discuss the history of breast cancer awareness month and some tips for staying healthy.
The History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
While October is now widely recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the history of this observance is actually relatively short.
The first Breast Cancer Awareness Month was held in 1985 to promote education and research about the disease. However, the idea of raising awareness about breast cancer began during the 1970s, largely thanks to former First Lady Betty Ford who survived the illness and became a staunch advocate for educating others.
Since 1985, breast cancer awareness has grown tremendously. Organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation have raised millions of dollars to support research and patient care.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against this deadly disease. By increasing awareness and supporting research, we can continue to make progress in the fight against breast cancer.
What Are The Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?
Several factors can increase your risk of developing breast cancer, including:
- Age: The risk of breast cancer increases with age. Most cases are diagnosed in women over the age of 50.
- Family history: If you have a close relative (mother, sister, or daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk is increased. Having multiple relatives with the disease further increases your risk.
- Genetic mutations: Certain genetic mutations, such as those that cause BRCA1 and BRCA2, can increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
- Obesity: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing breast cancer and many other cancers.
- Alcohol consumption: Drinking alcohol regularly increases the risk of developing breast cancer.
- Hormone replacement therapy: Using hormone replacement therapy (HRT), especially combined estrogen and progesterone therapy, can slightly increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
Tips for Prioritizing Breast Health
While there is no way to definitely prevent breast cancer, there are some things that can be done to lower your risk of developing the disease.
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
- Don’t smoke
- Talk to your doctor about breast cancer screenings
- Limit alcohol intake
- Breastfeed if possible
- Understand your family’s health history
- Talk to your doctor about estrogen-blocking drugs