October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

On October 2, 2023
In Blog

“Every day, more than 700 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer,” according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The Alliance for Health Equity (a.k.a. The Alliance) is focused on advancing a more equitable, resilient, and healthy community for all residents of the Greater Coatesville area of Pennsylvania. This October, we are shining a spotlight on Breast Cancer Awareness, as well as answering some of the most pressing questions.

What is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Per BreastCancer.org, “Breast Cancer Awareness Month, held in October every year, aims to promote screening and prevention of the disease, which affects one in eight women in the United States every year and 2.3 million women worldwide.”

What are the screening recommendations?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that, “Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you, and when you should have them.” This includes clinical examinations, mammograms (an X-ray of the breast), and/or MRIs. Additionally, any changes found during a breast self-exam should be reported right away to your doctor or health care provider. For more information, click here.

Does breast cancer affect men?

BreastCancer.org notes that, “Although breast cancer is much more common in women, breast cancer affects men, too. In 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden designated October 17 to October 23 Men’s Breast Cancer Awareness Week. About 2,710 American men this year are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer, and about 530 are expected to die from the disease.”

What are some of the risk factors for breast cancer?

According to The American Cancer Society, lifestyle-related risk factors can include:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not being physically active
  • Not having children or breastfeeding
  • Taking certain oral contraceptives or menopausal hormone therapy

There are also a number of breast cancer risk factors you cannot change, such as:

  • A family history of breast cancer
  • Being a women over the age of 55
  • Having dense breast tissue
  • An early first menstrual period
  • Going through menopause later

Additionally, Susan G. Komen notes that breast cancer rates in the U.S. vary by race and ethnicity, with unique risk factors for certain demographics. Information on that can be found here.

What are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

According to Healthline, breast cancer is categorized in different ways, including where it originates and whether it invades surrounding tissue, and symptoms can include “a lump or thickening of breast tissue that you can feel with your fingers, breast swelling or changes to your breast size or shape, changes to the skin on your breast, such as dimpling, redness, or skin irritation, the nipple turning inward or nipple pain, a lump in your underarm area ” and “nipple discharge other than breast milk.”

For information on where to get care, find a doctor, or find insurance in the Greater Coatesville community, click here.

The Alliance for Health Equity (formerly Brandywine Health Foundation) is a philanthropic organization striving to advance a more equitable, resilient and healthy community for all residents of the Greater Coatesville area. We pursue our mission by providing grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and students that address health and economic disparities and social justice. We also build partnership programs and give voice to those often left out of community solution building to improve the overall health of their communities. 100% of contributions go directly to those in need.