October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and that’s a topic everyone should be aware of. As a holistic dental practice, we’re concerned about our patients’ whole-body health, not just oral health. Breast cancer is a major threat to women – and men – around the world, and we want to do our part to raise awareness of the problem.
In many ways, this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month is more important than most. Due to all the disruption from COVID-19 and various lockdowns around the world, a lot of people weren’t getting proper checkups and examinations in the past year. It’s likely some of them have already missed early warning signs of breast cancer, which would have been caught if they’d been able to go to their regular wellness appointments.
Why Is Breast Cancer Awareness So Important?
Breast cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. Estimates are that as many as 1 in 8 (12.5%) of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. It’s expected that over 280,000 new cases will be diagnosed in America in 2021. By comparison, the next most-common type of cancer – colon cancer – will have less than half as many diagnoses.
Also, unlike some types of cancer which are caused by harmful behaviors, such as how smoking can cause lung cancer, breast cancer can strike almost anyone. Certain factors, such as family history, seem to play into a person’s susceptibility, but by and large, if a person develops breast cancer it’s through no fault of their own.
Breast cancer can also be fatal. Overall, it’s the second most fatal type of cancer among women, with approximately 1 in 39 women dying from it each year. However, survivability is closely tied to how early the cancer is detected. Most people who die of breast cancer actually die because the cancer spread from their breasts into their lymph nodes, or to other parts of their body. If breast cancer is detected early and has not spread, the odds of surviving are over 99% in the first five years.
This is why women should regularly receive check-ups and perform self-tests looking for lumps. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the more likely it is to be treatable. So, if you’ve been staying home and avoiding regular wellness checks, please visit your doctor. It truly could save your life.