The majority of Americans have been affected by breast cancer. Whether a relative, friend, neighbor, or coworker, one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This statistic is staggering which is why Health Merch is dedicated to supporting outreach efforts with creative, impactful campaigns to inform and motivate communities into action. So what do do people need to know about the cancer, early detection, and who is susceptible?

1. Do You Know the Symptoms and Early Signs of Breast Cancer?

Many women are aware that breast cancer is extremely prevalent in our society, but don’t know the symptoms. When performing monthly self-examinations, it’s important to look and feel for the following:

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

2. Did You Know that Women and Men Get Breast Cancer?

Unfortunately, everyone is susceptible to developing breast cancer. However, it is much more likely among women with 1 in 8 women diagnosed. Breast cancer typically develops in women over the age of 40, but has been seen in women over the age of 30 and even women in their 20s. 

Yes, men can get breast cancer. Male breast cancer is a rare cancer that forms in the breast tissue of men. Though breast cancer is most commonly thought of as a disease that affects women, breast cancer does occur in men. Similar to women, male breast cancer is most common in older men.

3. When Should You Get a Mammogram?

Because breast cancer typically manifests itself later in life, women are recommended to start their annual breast screenings at 40-45 years or age. Women with a family history of the disease and other special circumstances can discuss with their physicians about getting mammograms closer to 30 years of age or younger.

Age Breakdown for Recommended Mammogram Screenings

  • 40-44 years: Women at this age have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so. 
  • 45 to 54 years of age: Women at this age should get mammograms every year. 
  • 55+ years of age: Women 55 and older can switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening.

4. How Can You Prevent Breast Cancer?

The best way to avoid any illness is to be conscious about living a healthy live with a balanced diet and adequate exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, breast cancer prevention begins with those same basic building blocks and some tips that may surprise you:

  • Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. The general recommendation — based on research on the effect of alcohol on breast cancer risk — is to limit yourself to less than one drink a day, as even small amounts increase risk.
  • Don't smoke. Evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in premenopausal women.
  • Control your weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs later in life, particularly after menopause.
  • Be physically active. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which helps prevent breast cancer.
  • Breast-feed. Breast-feeding might play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.
  • Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. If you're taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options.
  • Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution. Medical-imaging methods, such as computerized tomography, use high doses of radiation. While more studies are needed, some research suggests a link between breast cancer and cumulative exposure to radiation over your lifetime.

5. Breast Cancer Is Beatable!

Breast cancer is beatable and there exists an entire tribe of doctors and communities supporting cancer patients and survivors. Millions of dollars pour into research and medical facilities to learn more about this terrible cancer and how we can beat it and cure patients faster. Remember to always consult with your physician immediately about any concerns you have and get your annual wellness checkups and mammograms.

Learn more about our bold breast cancer campaigns and shop promotional items and designs here