As breast cancer awareness month comes to a close, the 19th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk was a Sunday success, despite the snowy start. 14,000 walkers were expected and organizers hoped to raise $900,000 at the Providence event to support breast cancer research by the American Cancer Society.
As the most common cancer affecting American women other than skin cancer, the American Cancer Society reports that 1 in 8 women will develop some form of invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer is also the second most likely to be fatal in women, exceeded only by lung cancer in female cancer-related fatalities.
As with many cancers, the key to a successful battle begins with early detection and correct diagnosis. Women diagnosed at stage 0, stage I or stage IIA have over an 80 percent change of living five or more years following diagnosis. Those diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer, the most advanced stage, historically have only a 15 percent chance of living five or more years beyond the diagnosis.
Understanding Risk Factors and Early Detection of Breast Cancer
The most basic risk factor for developing breast cancer is being female. Although men also develop breast cancer, women are about 100 times more likely to do so than men. The risk of breast cancer increases with age. Women over age 45 are more likely to experience an invasive breast cancer than those who are diagnosed at a younger age. On top of age and gender, those with a family history of breast cancer are more likely to develop breast cancer themselves.
A missed diagnosis or cancer misdiagnosis can delay proper treatment and lower an individual's odds of surviving a battle with cancer. Understanding your risk factors and identifying early warning signs of breast cancer are your first defense in working with your physician to discover and begin cancer treatment as soon as possible.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women over 40 undergo an annual mammogram screening for breast cancer. Clinical breast exams and breast self exams are recommended for women in their 20s and 30s.
Source: "Walkers make strides against cancer," 30 October 2011