Breast health isn’t just for October. In this year alone, an estimated 232,670 women and 2,360 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. An estimated 40,430 breast cancer deaths are expected this year.
If diagnosed early and treated before it spreads, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 99 percent. But the reality is that not everyone has access to breast health education and screening.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation is trying to change that little by little. Since 1994, through our ¡Celebremos la Vida! (Let’s Celebrate Life!) program, we have provided breast cancer screening, education and patient navigation to underserved women in the DC metro, and Latinas outside of Chicago since 2004.
Many of our community grantees are also working to fight breast cancer and improve access to screening and education:
- Project Unidas en Rosa: Breast Health Education for Latinas is a project that aims to improve breast cancer outcomes for Latinas in Los Angeles County. It encourages individuals to be proactive about seeking breast health information and screening services essential to their well-being. Halfway through their grant year, this grantee has reached 351 Latinas in the community and trained 23 promotoras (lay health advocates)with the support of the Foundation.
- Baltimore-based Nueva Vida, is working to improve access to breast cancer education and screening through participating in health fairs, hosting special events and group education sessions called “charlas.” Over 1,000 Latinas received breast health information through this one-year community grant project.
Take these 4 breast health steps for yourself and your loved ones.
- Practice prevention. Make movement a part of your daily life and maintain a healthy body weight. Don’t smoke and limit alcohol! Share your prevention knowledge through conversations, blog posts and any platform that you can find.
- Get screened. And talk about it. In your 20s and 30s, have a clinical breast exam (CBE) by a health care professional at least every three years. Beginning at age 40, have an annual CBE and screening mammography. Pay it forward! Encourage your friends and family to do the same.
- Spread the word. Share your breast cancer screening experiences with others. The more we talk, the more we know. The more we know, the more likely we are to seek screening that could save our lives.
- Know your family history. If one or more women in your family have had breast cancer, it significantly increases your risk. Also know that most women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month may be only one month out of the year, but breast cancer prevention and early detection are 365 days a year efforts. Learn more about what you can do to reduce your risk for breast cancer today.