Every October, we begin to see pink ribbons or people wearing pink. For most it is a favorite color, for others they know that it signifies and is synonymous with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in October 1985, when the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of the Imperial Chemical Industries formed a partnership. Former first lady Betty Ford helped raise awareness as a breast cancer survivor herself. Since she was diagnosed when her husband former President Gerald Ford serviced in the White House, more light and attention was shed onto this issue and more people became aware that it is something that effects all walks of life and all parts of the world and both men and women alike.
The initial goal of Breast Cancer Awareness month was to give women the facts about breast cancer and early detection methods so that they could stay on top of their breast health and prevent cancer.
The movement has grown and now medical organizations, government agencies, and nonprofits work with survivors during the month of October on fundraising initiatives for research, education for women on the importance of regular screening for breast cancer via mammograms, and other early detection methods.
According to Breastcancer.org:
- About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
- In 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 62,930 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
- About 2,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2019. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883.
- Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades. They dropped by 7% from 2002 to 2003 alone. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk.
- About 41,760 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2019 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989. Women under 50 have experienced larger decreases. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.
- For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
- Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2019, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
- In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. For Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women, the risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is lower.
- As of January 2019, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.
- A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
- About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. On average, women with a BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. For women with a BRCA2 mutation, the risk is 69%. Breast cancer that is positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations tends to develop more often in younger women. An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations. In men, BRCA2 mutations are associated with a lifetime breast cancer risk of about 6.8%; BRCA1 mutations are a less frequent cause of breast cancer in men.
- About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
- The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).
While these statistics focus on women, breast cancer also affects men. About 1 out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States is found in a man. The most common kinds of breast cancer in men are the same kinds in women – invasive ductal carcinoma, invasive lobular carcinoma, and ductal carcinoma in situ.
The symptoms and the risk factors are the same though:
- A lump or swelling in the breast
- Redness or flaky skin in the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
- Nipple discharge
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
Risk Factors You Cannon Change:
- Getting older – aging
- Genetic mutations
- Reproductive history
- Having dense breasts
- Personal history of breast cancer or certain non-cancerous breast diseases
- Family history of breast or ovarian cancer
- Previous radiation therapy
Risk Factors You CAN Change:
- Not being physically active
- Begin overweight or obese
- Taking hormones
- Reproductive history
- Drinking alcohol
The above is good news for everyone and it brings up a simple and easy solution to help protect you and your loved ones from cancer and lead a healthier lifestyle: Simply stay active and take care of yourself by eating right and getting enough rest and rejuvenation. While the concept is easy to understand, practicing this can prove difficult with the busy and constantly changing schedules of every person in every part of the world these days. When tackling the prospect of leading a healthier and more productive life – start simple, by taking one concept or lifestyle change at a time and implement them into your daily routine slowly – allowing the changes and ideas to blend into your life slowly. When we do this, the changes usually ‘stick’ a bit better and it won’t seem like such a stretch or burden to your already busy lifestyle.
Rejuv at Work offers several options for Mind-Body classes and/or workshops such as: Stretch at Your Desk, Deskercise, Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates. These are all ways to help reduce and manage stress and anxiety; as well as promote a healthier and happier outlook and work environment. Any management and/or movement that promotes a sense of calm and restoration and keeps the body moving and active, is helpful in combating anxiety and stress; and will help in combating breast and other types of cancers.