October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Often associated with pink ribbons and 5K walks, the movement has been wildly popular: National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding which totaled $520 million in 2016.

Over the past few years, substantial medical improvements have been made in breast cancer treatment. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer (behind skin cancer) is the most common cancer found in women, while also being the second most common cause of cancer death. By the end of the year, nearly 266,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

That is a very large number, so what can women do?

Women can lower their risk with some simple lifestyle changes such as not smoking, exercising regularly, decrease alcohol intake, and maintain a healthy weight.

For starters, get regular screenings. The American College of Radiology recommends annual screening at age 40.  The American Cancer Society recommends screening annually at age 45. Though mammograms are not perfect, they are critical in detecting breast cancer. 

“I live a healthy lifestyle, am I still at risk?”

Your doctor can do a few things to evaluate your risk for ever having breast cancer, one of them being genetic risks. Doctors will most often look at mutations BRCA1 And BRCA2 (though not limited to these). You family history is very important as you doctor needs to know your genetic history. For example, did your grandma have breast cancer? If so, they need to know this.  According to the American Cancer Society, genetic history accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers.

Looking for a way to help raise awareness for breast cancer? Chevrolet is running a Twitter Campaign all month long. Simply use or retweet the hashtag “#IDriveFor.” For each post they will contribute $5 (up to $400k) to the American Cancer Society.

If you'd like to do some of your own research, Time magazine looked into several organizations promoting different aspects of breast cancer research, education, and debt.

About the Author: Taylor Genter

Taylor is the Marketing Specialist at Extract with experience in data analytics, graphic design, and both digital and social media marketing.  She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater. Taylor enjoys analyzing people’s behaviors and attitudes to find out what motivates them, and then curating better ways to communicate with them.