No one is immune to breast cancer—it is an equal opportunity disease. However, we know that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and women between the ages of 75 and 79 have the highest incidence rate. The chance that a woman will get breast cancer increases from 1-in-233 for a woman in her thirties, to a 1-in-8 chance for a woman in her eighties. The good news is that the death rate for breast cancer in women has decreased since 1990. This is due primarily to early detection and treatment.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a good time to create an Early Detection Plan. The National Breast Cancer foundation has created and made available an application to receive reminders to do breast self-exams, and schedule mammograms based on your age and health history.
The Mayo Clinic lists these primary risk factors:
- Chest radiation as a child
- Menstruation before the age of 12
- Adolescent weight gain
- No pregnancy or late pregnancy (after 30)
- Lengthy use of oral contraceptives
- Post-menopausal weight gain
- Late menopause (after age of 50)
- Increased breast tissue density
I had my own breast cancer scare a few years back. My annual screening mammogram showed an abnormality, so I was scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram. That was the longest week of my life. At the time, I had two small children and was beyond worried. I also had a lot of questions. I went to the website BeyondTheShock for answers and to prepare myself for my possible journey. What I found there was an incredible community full of support. Luckily for me and my family, my lesion was benign and there was no cancer. But the survivor stores I found at BeyondTheSchock, had I not been so lucky, would have been an inspiration.
When detected and treated early enough, your chances of surviving breast cancer are better than ever. Do it today. Make an appointment for that all-important screening, especially if you are a woman over 40. Remember, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, but when breast cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate is 98%.
Caregiverlist wants to remind seniors and senior caregivers alike to use National Breast Cancer Awareness month as a reminder to schedule your annual mammogram.