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Every year, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month-long awareness event is the work of the National Breast Cancer Association, a leading authority on an illness that affects a large number of people around the clock. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the National Breast Cancer Association encourages people to read up on breast cancer and become more familiar with this illness that many of us know exists but might not quite be familiar with. Here’s what you should know for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast cancer is the second-most common women’s cancer
For patients assigned female at birth, breast cancer is the second-most common cancer diagnosis behind skin cancer. The National Breast Cancer Association estimates that a new diagnosis is made every two minutes in the U.S. Additionally, breast cancer in females comprises 15.2 percent of all new cancer diagnoses across all genders.
Breast cancer affects all genders
Often, breast cancer is seen as a women’s disease. It’s true that the majority of breast cancer patients are assigned female at birth, as one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. However, breast cancer can occur in people assigned male at birth too, though only at a rate of 1 in 1,000 patients. This rate translates to 2,670 American men receiving breast cancer diagnoses in 2019. Of these men, approximately 500 – roughly 18.7 percent – will die. In short, breast cancer affects all genders, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month reminds people that it does so in large numbers.
Hundreds of thousands of people contend with breast cancer
The National Breast Cancer Foundation says that 2019 will see a total of 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed. The foundation also expects that there will be 62,930 cases of non-invasive breast cancer diagnosed.
Breast cancer is often beatable
Technology to detect breast cancer in its early stages, such as mammograms, have become universal enough that many breast cancer cases are discovered in time for proper treatment. Over half of breast cancer cases – 62 percent, to be exact – are discovered when the illness is still localized. The survival rate for breast cancer discovered in this stage is a full 99 percent, and currently, 3.5 million U.S. residents are breast cancer survivors.
However, breast cancer still often kills
Despite the above figures, the National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that a total of 41,760 people will die of breast cancer in 2019. This is a core reason why the foundation launched Breast Cancer Awareness Month – despite the strides made in combating breast cancer, the illness is still responsible for a large number of deaths every year.
You can help
Even if you’re not someone who works directly with breast cancer patients or in breast cancer research, you can help. Countless organizations and charities are accepting donations during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (and, if you don’t have the money right now, are accepting donations later too). Find a list of leading breast cancer organizations here.