Unfortunately, 1 in 8 women will face a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.
The CDC states that breast cancer is the likeliest of all cancers to develop in women and it is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women. Breast cancer can’t be prevented, but there are risk factors you can identify and early detection steps you can take. Since October is breast cancer awareness month, we wanted to devote some time to discussing the disease and ways you can help curb it in the greater Bethesda area.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Cancercare lists several risk factors, including a family history of breast cancer and being over age 50, the time in life when 80% of breast cancer cases are found. If you are at high risk of developing breast cancer, an annual mammogram starting at age 30 is recommended as part of the early detection process. Healthfinder.gov has a list of questions to ask your doctor if you’re concerned that you are at a high risk for developing breast cancer.
Steps to take to reduce your risk factors include maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, and limiting your alcohol consumption.
Men are susceptible to this type of cancer as well, though it is rare. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, less than 1% of all breast cancers develop in men.
Raising Breast Cancer Awareness in Bethesda and D.C.
There’s good news shining from within this dark topic: Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since around 1990. Professionals believe that this is due to the availability of better treatment options, more advanced screenings and early detection processes, and strides made in raising awareness.
But there’s still plenty to be done. Spend time speaking with your family and friends about the steps to take for early breast cancer detection and join local women’s organizations to help spread awareness, especially to older women. Take the day on October 29 to participate in the Making Strides of Washington D.C. walk to raise awareness.
The American Inn of Bethesda is committed to working with our partners in the community, including the NIH and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, to help raise awareness about breast cancer.