Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it's important to take some time to understand some basic facts about this disease, which will impact one in eight women throughout the course of her lifetime. Whether you have family history, know a friend who's fighting the disease, or just want to be educated, here are a few essential facts to keep in mind:
- There are currently about 3 million women in the U.S. battling the disease.
- Warning signs of breast cancer can vary from woman to woman. However, here are some common warning signs.
- Certain factors can increase your risk of getting breast cancer, such as: obesity, heavy alcohol consumption, two or more first-degree relatives who have had the disease at an early age, certain genetic mutations, and a high intake of red meat.
- Breast cancer rates are highest in Caucasian women, however death rates are highest among African-American women.
- Men can get breast cancer too.
Monitoring your body can allow for early detection of the disease. If you notice any changes, even if you think they're insignificant, make an appointment with your doctor right away. Don't be afraid to get a second opinion, too.
Lauren Levine is a freelance writer who has contributed to publications and websites including The Charlotte Observer, U.S. News & World Report, American Way magazine, The Huffington Post, Hello Giggles, Bustle, Thrillist, Thought Catalog, and others.