October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which aims to improve public awareness regarding this deadly disease. According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women, after skin cancer, worldwide.
One in eight women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer. Every year, over 200,000 women are diagnosed and more than 40,000 don’t survive. Usually, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and one woman dies every 13 minutes.
Although, breast cancer is prevalent in women who are 50 years of age or older, younger women are also exposed to it. About 10 percent of all new cases of breast cancer in the U.S. are found in women younger than 45 years of age.
Though not very common, men are also prone to breast cancer. More than 2,000 men are diagnosed and over 400 die of breast cancer each year. Yet, the U.S. has 3.3 million breast cancer survivors alive today.
Despite its higher risk, lives can be saved with timely and better screening, increased awareness, early diagnosis and continuous improvement of treatment options. Breast cancer is easier to treat at earlier stages and mammogram screening tests can help find it.
This month gives us a chance to increase public awareness about breast cancer and emphasize the importance of early detection and treatment.
Thielen Student Health Center at Iowa State does provide women’s health services which include clinical breast exams (CBE) and self-breast exam instruction. Recent studies found that CBE is a less expensive test that can aid in breast cancer detection and is highly recommended if one has a family history.
In spite of the terrible statistics, breast cancer patients can become breast cancer survivors by changing the public mindset through education and improving awareness about the disease, timely screening tests for early diagnosis and better treatment options.