National Breast Cancer Awareness Month may have passed, but the importance of early detection remains critical year-round. In fact, the 5-year survival rate is 98 percent with early detection!
Breast cancer is the 2nd leading form of cancer in women in the U.S. (skin cancer is No. 1), and the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in women (lung cancer is No. 1). Each year, more than 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and of those women, more than 40,000 will die.
Breast cancer does not discriminate with regards to age or gender. One of my aunts battled breast cancer for years. Thanks to early detection and medical treatment she lived for many years after her initial diagnosis. She was able to watch her grandchildren grow up and live a full life.
My best friend from high school also battled cancer at a young age. Again, thanks to early detection she continues to live a full life today and now volunteers her time in support of breast cancer awareness.
But what many people do not realize is that men have breast tissue and can develop breast cancer, too. Each year, approximately 1,700 men will be diagnosed, and 450 will die. That’s over 25 percent!
Like all cells of the body, a man’s breast duct cells can undergo cancerous changes. But breast cancer is less common in men because their breast duct cells are less developed than those of women and because their breast cells are not constantly exposed to the growth-promoting effects of female hormones.
How to Reduce Your Risk for Breast Cancer
Whether you’re male or female, young or elderly, there are several lifestyle changes you can make today that will help to reduce your risk for developing breast cancer, as well as other diseases and chronic conditions:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Limit alcohol
- Eat nutritious food
- Don’t smoke
- Implement an Early Detection Plan
Be proactive! Know your body! It could save your life!