October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Early prevention can save your life

By County magazine staff

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is a worldwide annual campaign to increase awareness and to promote regular screening and early detection of breast cancer. Early detection can make breast cancer easier to treat. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many have delayed going to their health care provider for a screening.

For TAC Wellness Consultant Stacey Bruington, breast cancer awareness hits especially close to home. "In 2020, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer," she said. "It's a devasting time and treatment that you go through, so I’m very passionate about this, knowing what my mom went through."

Why is breast cancer awareness important?

One in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This means that you or someone you know has been affected by this disease.

Here are three prevention tips for women:

1.    Perform a breast self-exam monthly. If something doesn’t seem normal, contact your doctor right away.
2.    Get a routine mammogram. According to the American Cancer Society, women who are 45 years old and are at average risk for breast cancer should start getting a mammogram every year.
3.    Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can decrease your risk, so limit alcohol use, watch your weight and be physically active.

The TAC Health and Employee Benefits Pool covers annual routine screenings. For more information about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, please visit www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month.

American Cancer Society Mammogram Recommendations

  • These guideline are for women at average risk for brest cancer. For screeening purposes, a woman is considered to be at average risk if she doesn't have a personal history of breast cancer, a strong family history of breast cancer, or a genetic mutation known to increase the risk of breast cancer (such as in a BRCA gene), and has not had chest radiation therapy before the age of 30. (See below guidelines for women at high risk.)
  • Women between 40-44 have the option to start screeening with a mammogram every year.
  • Women 45-54 should get mammograms every year.
  • Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • All women should understand what to expect when getting a mammogram for breast cancer screening  —  what the test can and cannot do.
  • Clinical breast exams are not recommended for breast cancer screening among average-risk woman at any age.