Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, you will probably see a lot more people wearing pink.  For the past twenty-five years, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, has promoted awareness and education regarding breast cancer, which is the most common cancer in women, with the exception of skin cancers.  The estimate for 2009 is that 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women, and 1,920 cases in men will be diagnosed.  Men have breast tissue, and can get breast cancer, even though it is not as common as in women.

National public service associations such as the America Cancer Society, medical associations, and government agencies have all joined together in promoting breast cancer issues.  Breast Cancer Awareness Month is also observed internationally during October, with many charities raising funds for research.  According to the National Cancer Institute, age is the single most important risk factor.  Other things to consider are:

  • Family history;
  • Body weight;
  • Lack of physical activity;
  • Alcohol consumption;
  • Smoking;
  • Consuming unhealthy foods;
  • Alteration of certain genes.

Women over 40 are urged to get an annual mammogram, and follow up every year.  Physicians or mammography centers can show women how to do self-exams, as well.

Surprisingly, one-half of breast cancer cases show up in women over age 65; therefore, they should continue getting mammograms through their 70’s.

You will see all types of benefits and activities in October, promoting this very important issue that affects thousands.  If you see a man wearing pink, tell him “thanks”.  Chances are he has a mom, grandmother, wife, or daughter that he hopes won’t have to face breast cancer, or that he knows someone who is fighting the battle.  There are over 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in our country, thanks to the hard work that cancer research and medical technology have provided.  These survivors are to be commended for their courage.