If for some reason you didn’t know….October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Like most things, if it’s not immediately impacting your life you don’t really care too much about it. With this being true, many of us are clueless about breast cancer and believe it’s only something to worry about as we get older. I remember my mom talking to me when she turned 40 about how nervous she was to get her first mammogram. Our family doesn’t have a history of breast cancer, but after losing a friend to breast cancer years earlier I could understand why she was fearful.
Even still, in my 20-year old body I was ambivalent and felt like that was just something I’d have to get to once I hit a certain age, kind of like pap smears. Although most cases are detected in women over 40, more and more younger women are being diagnosed with breast cancer every year. After hearing a girl on the radio that was in her 3rd year of college and battling breast cancer, I decided to actually start looking at the figures. Here are some I deem as Need to Know facts about Breast Cancer.
Get the Facts:
1. Breast cancer isn’t common in young women—but it’s deadlier than you think.
Komen.org: Breast cancers in younger women are more likely to be fast-growing, higher grade and hormone receptor-negative. Each of these factors makes breast cancer more aggressive and more likely to require chemotherapy.
2. It’s also harder to spot cancer in young women’s breasts.
3. Pregnancy can both raise and lower your risk.
After having your first child, your risk of breast cancer is slightly raised due to hormonal and physical changes. However, long-term it lowers the risk of breast cancer possibilities. For younger women, the chances are even lower.
4. Your lifestyle matters. Really.
Like any other disease or illness prevention, exercise, get rest, eat well(everything in moderation) and KEEP IT POSITIVE.
5. Babies aren’t off the table.
Breast cancer research is becoming increasingly innovative and sensitive to the issues of women and fertility. While chemotherapy can sometimes completely damage the ovaries, there are some steps women can take to preserve their fertility. Embryo storing is one of them.
6. The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).
7. In the US, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
8. Breast cancer deaths have been declining since 1990 thanks to early detection, better screening, increased awareness, and new treatment options.
9. In the US today, there are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors — the largest group of all cancer survivors.
10. For women ages 20-59, in the United States, breast cancer death rates are higher than death rates for any other type of cancer, besides lung cancer.
Being young does not eliminate your possibility of breast cancer, so be alert and in tune with your body changes. As tempted as we might be to skip appointments, it is important to have a yearly physical. And if you’re prone to hypochondria like me, you’ll probably be in the doctor’s office more than 5 times a year.