October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of screening and the early detection of breast cancer.

About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point during her life.  After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer in women.

The good news?  Many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.  A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early.

Make a difference!  Spread the word about mammograms and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.

Some helpful information: 

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

When breast cancer starts out, it is too small to feel and does not cause signs and symptoms. As it grows, breast cancer can cause changes in how the breast looks or feels. Symptoms may include—

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer. Having mammograms regularly can lower your risk of dying from breast cancer. If you are 50 to 74 years old, be sure to have a screening mammogram every two years. If you are 40 to 49 years old, talk to your doctor about when and how often you should have a screening mammogram.

Why should I have a mammogram?

Regular mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt. When their breast cancer is found early, many women go on to live long and healthy lives.

Where can I go to get screened?

Most likely, you can get screened for breast cancer at a clinic, hospital, or doctor’s office. If you want to be screened for breast cancer, call your doctor’s office. They can help you schedule an appointment. Most health insurance companies pay for the cost of breast cancer screening tests.

Are you worried about the cost? CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) offers free or low-cost mammograms.  Find out if you qualify.

How can I lower my risk of breast cancer?

  • Control your weight and exercise.
  • Know your family history of breast cancer. If you have a parent, sibling, son or daughter with breast cancer, ask your doctor about your risk of getting breast cancer and how you can lower your risk.
  • Find out the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.

Can men get breast cancer?

Men can also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. For every 100 cases of breast cancer, less than 1 is in men.

Find a Low Cost Screening Location near you

Click here for more information.

Source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2009 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2013. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/uscs.

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