National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 1, 2010
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October, with Halloween and baseball playoffs and autumn weather really kicking in, is such a wonderful time of year. But October is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the organization behind it has now spent 25 years raising awareness and educating people on the disease. Close to 200,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed yearly, and the disease causes approximately 40,000 deaths. All the more reason to fight it with early screenings and organized events.

Almost a year ago, Tami shared on Osmosis Online her breast cancer scare, which turned out not to be the disease, but her experience prompted her to take part in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event, a yearly series of walks/runs that raise funds to combat breast cancer.

As breast cancer is the second-most frequently occurring form of the disease (after skin cancer), it’s not surprising that many Americans us have been touched by breast cancer–if not personally, then a friend, loved one, or business associate. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is not only an opportune time to get involved, its an important reminder about the steps that one can personally take to combat the disease. While this is especially important for people with a family history of breast cancer, it is by no means limited to them. The American Cancer Society recommends:

Self-screening — Largely credited with helping more and more people survive breast cancer, early detection is paramount. Self examinations are recommended for women in their 20s and older.
Clinical breast exam — as part of a regular checkup, recommended for women in their 20s and 30s.
Mammograms — According to the American Cancer Society, “Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.”

For a full list of recommendations, please see the American Cancer Society’s detailed guide to breast cancer detection.

While October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s only the rallying cry for something that must be fought year-round and, indeed, through generations until there is a true cure. In the mean time, the path to becoming involved and being prepared is as easy as visiting www.nbcam.org. It’s a simple first step in the difficult battle of saving lives.

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