Many people wear pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month but are misinformed or mislead when it comes to factual information about the disease. Continue reading for tips on how to educate yourself as well as others this month.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While most people are aware that breast cancer exists, there’s still much that can be done to inform people about the disease. Educating yourself and those in your community is an important part of breast cancer awareness.
There’s a lot of misinformation about breast cancer and common knowledge about breast cancer that isn’t actually accurate. Having the wrong information, or not having the information at all, can stand in the way of women receiving the care that they need.
Stay informed and seek out accurate information about breast cancer. However, it’s important to examine online health information critically. Is the information coming from a reliable source? Are the findings current? Check multiple sources to see if the information agrees.
Doctors and nurses are the best resources for reliable health information. If you have questions about your personal health or even just questions about health in general, medical professionals provide accurate, reliable information. Reach out to your doctor’s office if you have questions about breast health.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great opportunity to start conversations about breast cancer. Send a text or email to women you know, or share information on social media; encourage other women to speak with medical professionals about breast cancer and breast health.
Here are a few ways that you can start the conversation in person or with a post on social media:
- “The two greatest risk factors for breast cancer? Being a woman and getting older.”
- “Mammography helps detect cancer in its earlier stages when the disease is most treatable.”
- “No one in your family has ever had breast cancer? That’s great, but anyone can develop the disease. Only 5-10% of breast cancer is hereditary.”
- “Lifestyle choices – such as maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and limited alcohol consumption – can reduce your risk for breast cancer.”
- “Breast cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms. Don’t rely on self-exams to detect breast cancer.”
Know your risk
One out of every eight women develop breast cancer; that’s the most common statistic that you hear about the disease. However, this commonly quoted figure does not necessarily indicate your personal risk for developing breast cancer.
It’s important to understand the difference between relative risk and absolute risk for breast cancer. You have a 12% relative risk for breast cancer simply by being a woman. Your personal risk could be much higher, however.
Knowing your personal risk helps you get the care that you need.
Schedule a mammogram
If you are a woman over 40, you should be getting a mammogram every year. The Breast Center, The American Medical Association, the National Cancer Institute, the Society for Breast Imaging, the American Cancer Society, and the American College of Radiology all recommend annual screening mammograms for women 40 years of age and older.
Take the opportunity to schedule a mammography screening if you haven’t had a mammogram this year.