October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month


For many individuals, October and breast cancer awareness go hand-in-hand. The 25-year-old health observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month promotes breast cancer issues through a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies — all working together to share information on the disease and provide greater access to services.

There are a multitude of risk factors shared among women diagnosed with breast cancer. While some factors such as family history cannot be modified, other risk factors can be minimized with a simple change in lifestyle. Some risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Late menopause
  • Post-menopausal obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Physical inactivity

Besides being female, age is the most important risk factor for breast cancer. According to a 2011-12 study by the American Cancer Society, a woman living in the United States has a 12.15 percent, or 1 in 8, lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. As women age, their likelihood of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis increases. For instance, a woman in her 20s has a 1 in 1,681 (.06%) chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer, while a woman in her 70s has a 1 in 27 (3.74%) chance.

Breast cancer typically produces no symptoms when the cancer-causing tumor is small and most treatable. Therefore, it is very important for women to follow recommended screening guidelines for detecting breast cancer at an early stage, before symptoms develop. The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 20-39 receive a clinical breast exam at least every three years and perform a breast self-exam monthly. For women 40 and over, an annual mammogram is recommended, in addition to an annual physical breast exam and monthly breast self-exams.

During the month of October, Methodist McKinney Hospital will be distributing gift packages to women receiving a mammogram. The gift package includes pens, notepads and a pink Methodist McKinney cup. In addition, each patient will also receive a pink carnation. To schedule a mammogram appointment at Methodist McKinney, please call


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