According to the CDC, more than 245,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease each year in the United States.
- Know your risks. Many factors contribute to the incidence of breast cancer, so it is important to understand them and know which ones could affect you. Breast cancer most often impacts women over age 50, but about 11% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are under 45. Women in that age range should pay attention to the particular risks for women under 45.
- Reduce your risk. While there are many contributors to breast cancer that women cannot control or prevent, there are strategies for lowering one’s risk and improving one’s chances of survival if diagnosed. These strategies include maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Know the warning signs. Breast cancer signs and symptoms can vary from person to person. However, women should be familiar with the major warning signs of breast cancer and promptly seek medical attention from their healthcare provider if they encounter any.
- Get screened. Knowing the risks and warning signs is not enough. Some people with breast cancer do not have any symptoms. There are a number of screening methods including mammograms, breast MRIs, clinical exams, and self exams. Screening does not prevent cancer, but early detection thanks to screening–specifically mammograms–can identify cancer when it is easier to treat. Speak with your healthcare provider about the screening method(s) that are right for you.