Breast cancer can be a frightening diagnosis, striking one in eight women in their lifetime, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the CDCR’s Office of Employee Wellness wants to arm people with information.

Facts about breast cancer in the U.S. (courtesy National Breast Cancer Foundation):

  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women.
  • Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
  • Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 410 will die each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are many risk factors for breast cancer.

What Are the Risk Factors?

The main factors that influence your risk for breast cancer include being a woman, being older (most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older), and having changes in certain breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2). In addition, studies have shown that some other factors may also influence your risk.

Factors for Decreased Risk

  • Being older when you first had your menstrual period.
  • Starting menopause at an earlier age.
  • Giving birth to more children, being younger at the birth of your first child, and breastfeeding your children.
  • Getting regular exercise.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.

Factors for Increased Risk

  • Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy.
  • Personal history of breast cancer or non-cancerous breast diseases.
  • Family history of breast cancer (on either your mother’s or father’s side of the family).
  • Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest.
  • Exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) (for example, if you took DES during pregnancy or your mother took DES during her pregnancy with you).
  • Dense breasts by mammogram.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Night-shift work.

Some women will develop breast cancer even without any known risk factors. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, and not all risk factors affect your risk to the same extent. Most women have some risk factors and most women do not get breast cancer. If you have breast cancer risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways you can lower your risk and about screening for breast cancer, the CDC recommends.

For more on breast cancer and risks, visit https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/risk_factors.htm

What is the average American woman’s risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer at different ages?

According to Cancer.gov, many women are more interested in the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer at specific ages or over specific time periods than in the risk of being diagnosed at some point during their lifetime. According to the current report, the risk that a woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer during the next 10 years, starting at the following ages, is:

  • Age 30 . . . . . . 0.44 percent (or 1 in 227)
  • Age 40 . . . . . . 1.47 percent (or 1 in 68)
  • Age 50 . . . . . . 2.38 percent (or 1 in 42)
  • Age 60 . . . . . . 3.56 percent (or 1 in 28)
  • Age 70 . . . . . . 3.82 percent (or 1 in 26)

How to get involved

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation, uniting more than 300 communities to finish the fight. Every breast cancer walk and event is an incredible and inspiring opportunity to honor those who have battled breast cancer, raise awareness about what we can do to reduce our breast cancer risk, and raise money to help the American Cancer Society fight the disease with research, information, services, and access to mammograms for women who need them.

To take part in Making Strides events, visit: https://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=62729&gclid=Cj0KEQjwyMafBRCU7OCRyc2vitsBEiQAKV4H9KbDyY0DKVW8G8mQ7orTRyThqCWDw0bRwjO3MB6IcgMaAnyz8P8HAQ

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure also offers many events to get involved. Find them here: https://ww5.komen.org/findarace.aspx

How do you recover from the shock of a diagnosis?https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/nbcf-programs/beyond-the-shock

For information about the importance of early detection, go to https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/breastcancerearlydetection/breast-cancer-early-detection-toc