Breast Cancer Awareness Month


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October 02, 2016
Contributed by Dr. Mimi Cadet-Patterson

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is to increase awareness of the disease and to help women in need.  Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, no matter your race or ethnicity. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to bring awareness and to educate every woman about this disease.

 Breast cancer is a group of diseases that affects breast tissue. Both women and men can get breast cancer, though it is much more common in women. Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. Some women are at higher risk for breast cancer than others because of their personal or family medical history or because of certain changes in their genes.

Facts About Breast Cancer:

  • Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease.
  • Men also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. Less than 1% of breast cancers occur in men.
  • Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 10% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age. 

 Risk Factors For Breast Cancer:

  • Age (breast cancer increases with age).
  • Early menstrual period.
  • Starting menopause after age 55.
  • Not being physically active.
  • Being overweight or obese after menopause.
  • Having dense breasts.
  • Family history of breast cancer.
  • Drinking alcohol.

 How to Reduce your Risk of Breast Cancer?

  • Follow a healthy diet of plenty of vegetables, fruits and healthy fats (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts, etc.).
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly (3-4 times per week).
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer.
  • Breastfeed your children when you are pregnant.

 

Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, which makes it easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you, and when you should have them. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that if you are 50 to 74 years old, you should have a screening mammogram every two years. Women, who are 40 to 49 years old, should talk to their doctor about when to start and how often to get a screening mammogram.

 

Where to get free services?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provide breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women across the United States. The following are places you can get free screening in New Jersey:

Bergen County: (201) 634-2660

Essex County: UMDNJ (973) 972-0308 OR St. Michael’s (973) 877-2987

Hudson County: Hoboken Family Planning (201) 936-0300

Morris County: (973) 971-5952

Passaic County: St. Joseph’s (973) 754-2705

Somerset County: (908) 526-2335 ext. 112

Sussex County: (973) 702-2740

Union County: (201) 963-0300

Warren County: (908) 859-6740 

For more information about breast cancer, please visit The National Breast Cancer Foundation

 

†Source: Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2016. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/uscs.