October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, targeting one in eight women over a lifetime. According to NBC4 community partner American Cancer Society, it is expected there are nearly 270,000 new breast cancer cases in the country in 2020. 

Early detection is key for combating breast cancer.  The American Cancer Society’s recommendations for early detection of breast cancer for women of average risk include:

  • Ages 40-44: Women should have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.
  • Ages 45-54: Women should get a mammogram every year.
  • Women age 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year or choose to continue annual mammograms. 

Although there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, there are things you can do to lower your risk:

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight: Both increased body weight and weight gain as an adult are linked with a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause. The American Cancer Society recommends you stay at a healthy weight throughout your life. 
  • Be physically active: Moderate to vigorous physical activity is linked with lower breast cancer risk, so it’s important to get regular physical activity, including at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol: Alcohol increases risk of breast cancer. Even low levels of alcohol intake have been linked with an increase in risk. 
  • Eat fruits and vegetables: Many studies have suggested that a diet high in vegetables and fruit, and low in red meat, can reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Other factors that might lower risk: Women who choose to breastfeed for at least several months may also get an added benefit of reducing their breast cancer risk.
  • Using hormone therapy after menopause can increase your risk of breast cancer. To avoid this, talk to your health care provider about non-hormonal options to treat menopausal symptoms.

For more information on breast cancer early detection, risk factors, treatment, recovery or free patient support, call the American Cancer Society anytime at 800-227-2345 or visit and

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