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Breast Cancer Prevention: Awareness Matters, Choice Cancer Care

Each October, healthcare professionals, cancer survivors, community groups and others go to great lengths to spread the word about breast cancer. This disease is a concern for all women, but it can affect men too. With an estimated 252,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed each year, and more than 40,000 deaths, the threat it poses is very real. Even so, once October passes many people may not give this disease a second thought. The need for prevention and awareness, however, does not pass when the calendar flips to November.

People who want to take an active, year-round role in battling this disease while helping make sure others are made aware of the risk it poses, can take these steps:

• Go in for routine screenings – Women are strongly urged to go in for their annual exams to screen for breast cancer, cervical cancer and other health concerns. Mammograms typically don’t become a part of the routine until a woman’s 40s or 50s, but checkups and self-exams can also prove useful for finding this disease early. Men, too, can help by encouraging women in their lives to go in for their exams. They can also lead by example by getting checked out for prostate cancer and other related conditions.
• Know the risks – Knowing the risk factors can be important for everyone – men and women alike. The major risks include: being a woman, a family history of the disease, genetic mutations, obesity, overuse of alcohol and lack of exercise, among others. It’s important to address risks that can be addressed.
• Get involved – The battle against breast cancer is a year-round undertaking. While most major events take place in October, those who want to stay involved can. Some of the options here include fundraising for nonprofit organizations, volunteering at local nonprofits geared to helping breast cancer patients and simply taking the time to spread the word about this disease and how it can be combatted.

Breast cancer is a very real concern for all women and some men. To find out more, check with your healthcare provider for personal insights on prevention and screening.