I love the change of seasons. I particularly love fall in the South. The oppressive heat of summer gives way to crisp, cool mornings, green leaves give way to brilliant colors, and college football returns. But, October is even more special than that. October brings attention to one of the greatest fears of women — breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
There is much to be excited about in the arena of breast cancer treatment. Earlier detection, minimally invasive surgery, and high survival rates head the list. Credit needs to be given to the great work of many organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation and many researchers and physicians around the world.
But, breast cancer has not given up.
Let’s look specifically at the most current statistics of breast cancer. The lifetime probability of women developing breast cancer (2003-2005) is 1 in 8. That amounts to about 185,000 women annually. Breast cancer accounts for 27% of all cancers in women. Breast cancer accounts for 15% of all cancer deaths in women and is the second leading cause of death due to cancer in women — only surpassed by lung cancer.
The statistics are not all bad. Breast cancer has decreased by 27% from 1990 to 2005. Five-year breast cancer survival rates are improving — 91% for Caucasian women and 78% for African-American women.
Weight contributes to breast cancer risk. Since 1960, the percentage of obesity has risen from 16% to 36% (2006). That means that 1/3 of the female population is obese. What a disturbing trend! And even worse, the trend of breast cancer has paralleled the obesity trend in women.
Here are the current Screening Guidelines:
- Yearly mammograms starting at age 40
- Clinical breast exam every 3 years for women in their 20’s and 30’s; annually after 40
- Self breast exams should begin in early 20’s
The focus in breast cancer today is on early detection and treatment. At Seasons, we want to focus on prevention. Why ever let the cancer develop in the first place. Follow us over the next couple of weeks as we focus on how.