According to the American Cancer Society, “breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. The average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13%.” This is equivalent to a one in eight chance.
October is widely known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and at Markentum, we support our partners in raising awareness for diseases and health conditions that affect the senior population. We're showing our support this month by sharing information and insight into a disease that impacts so many individuals and families.
The History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
As is the case for many health conditions, early detection and diagnosis are vital in treating breast cancer. When Breast Cancer Awareness Month first began, its primary mission was to raise awareness of the disease, educate men and women about preventative tests and screenings, and empower individuals to control their health.
This education focused on teaching women how to perform at-home breast exams, emphasizing the need for annual mammograms, and helping people find and take advantage of available resources.
In 1993, “President Clinton proclaimed the third Friday in October to be ‘National Mammography Day’ and urged companies, clinics, and radiologists to provide free or discounted screenings on that special day (Breast Cancer Consortium)."
Every year, Breast Cancer Awareness Month continues to spread awareness and education about breast cancer, celebrate survivors, and empower those battling it.
Breast Cancer’s Impact on the Senior Population
Age is a major risk factor for breast cancer. “Rates of breast cancer are low in women under 40… begin to increase after age 40 and are highest in women over age 70 (Susan G. Komen)."
Our senior living partners work hard to show their support in the fight to find a cure for breast cancer and other health conditions that impact their residents. We are here to join them on this journey to raise awareness about the health concerns that older adults face.
Other risk factors for breast cancer can include:
- Reproductive History – If you started having menstrual periods before age 12 or started menopause after age 55, your body was exposed to hormones for a longer period of time could increase your risk of breast cancer.
- Genetics and Family History – An individual’s risk of breast cancer increases if an immediate family member has been diagnosed with the disease.
- Personal History of Breast Cancer – Your risk of developing breast cancer a second time is significantly higher if you have been diagnosed with it in the past.
- Not Staying Physically Active – Physical exercise and activity provide many health benefits, but staying active can also lower your risk of developing breast cancer.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy – When taken during menopause for over five years, hormone replacement therapy can increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Prevention 🥊
Like we previously mentioned, early detection is crucial in the battle against breast cancer. Understanding your personal risk factors, knowing what symptoms to watch for, and getting regular screenings will help you catch breast cancer early and prevent it from developing further. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms, we urge you to seek your doctor’s advice.
Common symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A new lump in the breast or armpit
- The swelling or thickening of a breast
- Dimpling or irritation of breast skin
- Localized and persistent breast pain
- Redness or scaliness of breast skin
Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website to learn more about what symptoms could be associated with breast cancer.
Breast Cancer is a serious condition, so this month is dedicated to raising awareness and educating people about how to take control of their breast health. Breast Cancer Awareness Month has a personal connection to many of us, and the Markentum team is here to support the cause for both ourselves and our partners in the senior living industry.