Breast Cancer Awareness reinforces ‘Don’t Wait’

| October 25, 2013 | 0 Comments

Valencia Dunbar, D.M.
Army Medicine Public Affairs

Army Medicine joins the Military Health System (MHS) and other health system partners in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in an effort to increase the overall awareness and sharing of information among Soldiers, family members and beneficiaries on the importance of breast cancer screening.

BreastCancer_Ribbon_86492411_wThe campaign is also designed to communicate how a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating nutritious foods and staying physically active, are essential to maintaining, restoring and improving breast health.

The end state is an environment where Soldiers, family members and beneficiaries have a better understanding of the preventive measures they can take to reduce the risks of developing breast cancer by getting screened early and regularly.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer (behind skin cancer) in females in the U.S. and the second most common cause of cancer death in women (behind lung cancer). Today, there are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the U.S. An estimated 39,620 women are expected to die from the disease in 2013.

The good news is that death rates for breast cancer have steadily declined for women in the past 20 years, likely due to progress in earlier detection, improved treatment of breast cancer and possibly from the declining use of combination hormone replacement therapy.

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) organization is comprised of several national public service organizations, professional medical associations and government agencies working together to increase breast cancer awareness, share information and provide access to screening services. NBCAM began on a national level more than 25 years ago in order to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.

A variety of events are organized in October to highlight NBCAM, including walks, runs and the pink illumination of landmarks. The third week in October was established as “Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week” by several male breast cancer advocacy groups. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), an estimated 232,340 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the U.S. this year; about 2,240 new cases are expected in men. Men are generally at low risk for developing breast cancer; however, approximately 2,140 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

If you are age 40 or older, join the millions of women who get mammograms on a regular basis. If you are a family member, friend or colleague, don’t wait to encourage the women in your life to get mammograms. Breast cancer is more likely to be cured if it is caught early.

If all women adhered to guidelines for obtaining mammograms, the survivability rate from breast cancer would increase significantly. Early detection is key. The key to mammography screening is that it be done routinely. Once is not enough.

Resources
To learn more about breast cancer, visit Military Health System Women’s Health at www.health.mil and National Cancer Institute at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics.

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Category: Community, Health

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