Every year as we come around to October, we start to see pink ribbons popping up all around. NFL players change their uniforms, hospitals start to promote breast cancer awareness, buildings light up in pink, and events are organized around the country to raise breast cancer awareness and promote breast health. This month, as we launch our new blog, we will be featuring a series of posts that will help you become more aware of breast cancer risk, screening and prevention strategies, organizations that help survivors and families, and many other resources. But before we start with those, we take a moment and think – why Breast Cancer Awareness Month? What makes this month different from any other?
Breast cancer is the most common female cancer in the U.S. At this time, about 1 in every 8 women (12-13% of the general population) are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer. This year alone, about 300,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with some form of breast cancer in this country.
One of the most important advances that have been made in the world of breast cancer in the last few years involve research into hereditary cancer risks. As we become more able to identify our risk, we are more able to manipulate that risk in our favor. Along with mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2, there are also many other genetic causes constantly being identified that can increase cancer risks. We are also becoming more aware of environmental factors that may modify our risks. In the upcoming weeks, we will bring you more information about lifestyle factors that can reduce your risks, and also note key red flags in personal and family history that should prompt a hereditary cancer risk assessment.
With the help of comprehensive cancer risk assessment, genetic testing and thorough genetic counseling, more women are able to manage their risk of cancer and be empowered with regards to their health. If you feel that you have an increased risk due to your personal or family history, take a minute to contact a genetic counselor at IMG and learn more about your options.
As we see all the pink ribbons all around us this month, let us take a moment to recognize that our awareness can make all the difference in our healthcare. We can make the choice of looking towards the future and being proactive, managing our risks, and taking all the steps we can towards improving screening, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes for breast cancer.