October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Here’s what you need to know

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(ABC4) October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the largest breast cancer organization in the United States, over 281,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women and 2,650 cases in men are estimated in 2021.  

They also estimate around 43,600 deaths in women and 530 deaths in men. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says breast cancer generally affects women over 50. Some of the risk factors that affect the likelihood of breast cancer in women are being physically inactive, being overweight after menopause, taking hormones, and drinking alcohol.  

The CDC recommends speaking with a personal physician about risk factors and other ways to lower risk. Regular exercise and avoiding alcohol are some of the ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is one of a few cancers for which an effective screening test, mammography, is available, according to the National Cancer Institute. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), ultrasound, and clinical breast exams are also used to detect breast cancer, but not as routine screening tools.

The CDC says that although rare, men can get breast cancer. One in 100 breast cancer diagnoses are found in men. The three most common forms of breast cancer in women can also be found in men: Invasive ductal carcinoma, invasive lobular carcinoma, and Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).  

Data from 2017 from the CDC, the most recent data available, says Black men have the highest incidence of breast cancer and Hispanic men have the lowest incidence.  

Likewise, the CDC’s most recent data is from 2018 and it reports that white women have the highest rate of diagnosis for female breast cancer and Native American women have the lowest diagnosis rate. 

Some local resources for breast cancer are: 

1) Cancerutah.org– a website connecting visitors to information on breast cancer, qualifying for a free screening, screening locations, and other resources. 

2) The Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah– information on cancer treatment, screening, research, education, and support. 

3) Utah Cancer Action Network– a professional organization working on a comprehensive plan to reduce cancer deaths in Utah. 

Here are some events that are coming up for breast cancer awareness month:

The Fifth Annual Ink Against Cancer Event is taking place October 16th and 17th at Utah State Fair Park in Salt Lake City. The event brings together local, statewide and national tattoo artists to raise funds to support Ink Against Cancer- Cancer Warriors Foundation. For more information, go to the event’s website here.

The organization Support Our Girls is holding its seventh annual Breast Cancer Awareness themed virtual run throughout the month of October. Registered participants can choose the distance they wish to virtually run. A portion of donations will be given to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. For more information on registering, click here.

Making Strides Against Cancer is a fundraising organization started by the American Cancer Society and comprises the largest network of breast cancer events in the United States. They host walking events to raise money for research as well as providing patient services like free rides to chemo, free places to stay near treatment, and a live 24/7 cancer helpline. 

The Utah chapter of Making Strides Against Cancer will be hosting a walking event on Saturday, October 23 at 9:00 a.m. at Liberty Park. You can sign up for the walk here. You can also contact the organization toll-free at 1 (800) 227-2345. 

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