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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October)

Seeing pink? It might be because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). This year NBCAM is celebrating its 27th anniversary. NBCAM is committed to increasing awareness of breast cancer issues, including early detection and encouraging women to take charge of their own health by practicing regular breast self-exams, scheduling annual mammograms, adhering to prescribed treatment, and knowing the facts about recurrence.

Breast cancer is a cancer that forms in the tissues of the breast, usually the ducts and lobules. Breast cancer occurs in both men and women; however male breast cancer is rare. It is estimated that there were 207,090 new cases of female breast cancer in 2010 alone.

Risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Increased levels of estrogen
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol
  • Inherited risk

The best prevention for breast cancer is avoidance of risk factors, exercise, and decreased estrogen exposure. Symptoms of breast cancer include a lump in the breast, a change in size or shape of the breast or discharge from a nipple. Breast self-exam and mammography can help find breast cancer early when it is most treatable. Treatment of breast cancer includes options such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and mastectomy.

Breast cancer affects one in eight women during their lives. Breast cancer kills more women in the US than any cancer, except lung cancer. It is important to take preventive measures to decrease your risk of breast cancer and to get regular mammograms to ensure early detection.

This information was provided by the National Cancer Institute and The National Institutes of Health. For more information regarding breast cancer, please visit

Article provided by Stephanie Monger, Intern from James Madison University working with Community Outreach.