Get screened. Stay healthy. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 10, 2017

It’s October, which means it’s once again National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about the disease. The good news is that the number of breast cancer-related deaths has been falling over the past several years—in part due to efforts to increase public awareness about the disease and how to prevent it.

Breast cancer is one of the more common forms of cancer. More than 250,000 new cases of breast cancer in women will be diagnosed in 2017, according to the American Cancer Society.[1] It is estimated that 1 in 8 women in the United States has a chance of developing the disease.[2]

But by paying attention to common symptoms, taking certain precautions, and getting regular screenings, the likelihood of women developing breast cancer – and certainly suffering or dying from it – has fallen. Breast cancer deaths have dropped by 40 percent since 1989.[3]

Below are the basic and most important tips on how to keep yourself healthy and prevent this disease.

Noticing Potential Symptoms

There are several symptoms that may indicate an early tumor in the breast—and anyone who identifies any of these must go to the doctor immediately. The most common are:[4]

  • A change in how the breast, nipple, or underarm area feels
  • Any nipple discharge
  • Swelling of part or all of a breast (including specific lumps)

Everyday Precautions

There are many simple precautions women can take to lower their risk:

  • Limit alcohol to one drink per day
  • Avoid smoking
  • Exercise regularly—at least 2-3 times per week
  • Avoid becoming overweight—obesity is linked to an increased risk
  • As always, maintain a healthy diet! This not only helps reduce the risk of all cancers, but keeps your body happy, healthy, and strong.


  • Regular screenings are essential. Early detection is the best prevention for breast cancer. Screenings are available at clinics, hospitals, and doctor’s offices.[5]
  • Women between the age of 40 and 49 should begin getting occasional screenings based on consultations with their physician.
  • Women between the age of 50 and 74 should get screened at least once every two years, if not more.

Breast cancer, like all cancers, must be taken seriously. However, when these simple preventative measures are taken and women get screenings as advised, breast cancer is not only one of the most treatable cancers, but also one of the most easily detected.

The Healthcare Education Project collaborates with partners to organize free screenings throughout the year. You can find more information on our website at

For more information on screenings or to make an appointment for a screening,
call the state hotline at 1-866-442-CANCER (2262).