(NEWS10) — October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease and promote the importance of early detection through health screenings.
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women. Nearly one in eight women born today will be get the disease at some point in their life. The disease affects men as well, though at a lower rate.
The good news is that many people can survive breast cancer if it is found and treated early. That’s why Breast Cancer Awareness month works to promote the importance of receiving regular mammograms. Women ages 50 to 74 should receive mammograms every two years, or more often depending on your personal health history. Some women may even want to begin mammograms as early as 40-years-old.
Although mammograms are the primary method of screening for breast cancer, here are some signs and symptoms women can be on the lookout for themselves:
- a lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit – you might feel the lump but not see it
- a change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
- a change in the color of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed
- a change to the nipple, for example it has become pulled in (inverted)
- rash or crusting around the nipple
- any unusual liquid (discharge) from either nipple
- changes in size or shape of the breast
Some women may be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer and should begin receiving mammograms and an MRI every year beginning at age 30. This includes women who:
- Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of about 20% to 25% or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history (see below)
- Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation (based on having had genetic testing)
- Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, and have not had genetic testing themselves
- Had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years
- Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes
To find an FDA certified mammogram facility near you visit: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfMQSA/mqsa.cfm
For more information you can also call the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service toll free at 800-422-6237.