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THINK PINK!  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States (other than skin cancer).  But millions of women are surviving the disease thanks in part to early detection and improvements in treatment.

  • Cancer doesn’t wait until October. Neither should you. It’s important to remain vigilant year-round.  Breast cancer can’t be prevented, and early detection is key.
  • 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Annual screening mammograms should start at age 40, sometimes earlier if symptoms occur.
  • The most common signs of breast cancer are changes in the look and feel of the breast. Mammograms can help detect at an early stage.
  • When a breast cancer diagnosis is given, it’s important to talk with your physician about what treatment is best for you. When in doubt, always ask questions.
  • On average, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes. Self-exams should be considered based on comfort level, and regular exams should start at age 21.
  • Breast cancer can occur at any age. It’s important to be proactive. Annual exams by a doctor should start at 21, or earlier, if a woman experiences symptoms.


Breast cancer remains one of the most common malignancies of women. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be more than 300,000 new cases diagnosed this year. There will be nearly 40,000 deaths due to breast cancer, making it the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women.  The lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 1 in 8, while the chance of dying from breast cancer is 1 in 36.  The ACS is actively fighting breast cancer by helping women get tested to find breast cancer earlier, and helping them understand their treatment options and cope with the physical and emotional side effects.

Today, there are nearly 3 million breast cancer survivors and early detection of breast cancer has resulted in improved survival rates. The ACS recommends frequent breast self-examinations, clinical breast exams by a health professional, and yearly routine mammograms. Patients considered at high risk for breast cancer, such as those with other family members with the disease, may benefit from more frequent exams or additional tests, such as MRI.

tober is powered by Mary Washington Healthcare.