October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Chances are you or someone you know has been affected by this terrible disease. According to the CDC, breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States. In 2021, it is estimated there will be 43,600 breast cancer deaths. Women in the U.S. have a 1 in 8 (or about 13 percent) lifetime risk of getting breast cancer.
Women who smoke for many years appear to have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. Women who are current smokers and have been smoking for more than 10 years have approximately a 10 percent higher risk of breast cancer than women who have never smoked.
There are things you can do today to help limit your risk factors for developing breast cancer including:
• Being physically active
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Avoid alcohol
• Quit smoking (or never start smoking)
If you are at an increased risk of breast cancer, early detection is key. It is suggested women age 40-45 begin annual screening. You know your own body. If you notice a change in your breasts, please contact your physician. This disease is much more treatable if found early.
The benefits of smoking cessation are greater when women stop smoking at younger ages, but smoking cessation is beneficial at all ages. There are free resources to help. Call 1-800-Quit-Now to get started on your tobacco-free journey. It is not easy, but you can do it.