October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and has always served as a time to celebrate women who have survived breast cancer. This month is also a time to increase awareness about the early detection of breast cancer and the importance of having an annual mammogram.
About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Thankfully, the overall death rate from breast cancer has decreased over the past decades, and this is thought to be the result of treatment advances and earlier detection through annual screening.
About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to known inherited gene mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. On average, women with these mutations have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, as well as an increased rate of ovarian cancer.
The most important screening tool for the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer is annual mammography. A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast that allows physicians to get a detailed look at the breast and detect any abnormalities or signs of breast cancer. While a mammogram does not prevent breast cancer, it can decrease deaths from breast cancer by 40% due to early detection allowing care at the earliest possible stage.
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