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Breast Cancer Awareness: Know the Facts

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and NewsWatch 12 is 'going pink' for the entire month to do our part. Stay with us for stories of survival, prevention, and hope.

Posted: Oct 1, 2018 1:43 PM
Updated: Oct 3, 2018 12:38 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and NewsWatch 12 is "going pink" all month to do our part. We will be sharing local and deeply personal stories of hope and survival throughout October — but it's important to start with the facts.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S. — trailing only heart disease, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Quick Facts from the CDC About Breast Cancer

  • Not counting some kinds of skin cancer, breast cancer in the U.S. is the most common cancer in women, no matter your race or ethnicity.
  • The most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women.
  • The second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
  • About 11% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.
  • When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized.
  • The most common kinds of breast cancer are invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma — named for the different kinds of tissue in which they originate.
  • If you have a strong family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may have a high risk of getting breast cancer. You may also have a high risk for ovarian cancer.
  • A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer.

Among women, breast cancer is by far the most common form of cancer, no matter your race or ethnicity (excluding extremely common forms of skin cancer). Breast cancer is also the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women, and the second most common cause of cancer death among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native women.

In the U.S. throughout 2015, there were 242,476 new cases of female breast cancer reported — 41,523 women died from it.


CLICK HERE for more information about what breast cancer is and how it forms.


The good news for Oregonians is that our state has some of the lowest rates of breast cancer in the country. The CDC estimates that there are 115.6 cases of breast cancer per 100,000 women in Oregon, based on 2015 data. Rates in neighboring California and Washington are higher, while Nevada boasts an even lower rate (in the country, only Wyoming has a lower rate than Nevada).

There are a number of risk factors for breast cancer that can be impossible to avoid — aging, genetic mutations, a family history of breast cancer, and some biological factors such as early menstruation or starting menopause after age 55.

So what can you do to improve your chances of avoiding breast cancer? Physical activity and managing weight is key, both before and after menopause. Avoiding certain forms of hormone replacement therapy and birth control can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Having your first pregnancy before the age of 30 and breastfeeding have been shown to reduce the risks of cancer. The CDC also found that avoiding alcohol can reduce risk.

However, with breast cancer forming such a common risk factor for women, the best defense is always to participate in breast cancer screening. Experts recommend that women between the ages of 50 and 74 years old and are at an "average risk" for breast cancer get a mammogram every two years.

Women between the ages of 40 and 49 years old should talk to their doctor about when they should start getting mammograms and how often.


CLICK HERE for some common symptoms of breast cancer.


Self-awareness is also key — by being familiar with how their breasts look and feel, women may be able to notice symptoms such as lumps, pain or changes in size that may be an early warning sign.

Finally, while breast cancer is significantly more rare in men, it can affect them too. Since breast cancer screening is not a common practice for men, self-awareness and self-exams are just as important for males to practice.

Check in with NewsWatch 12 throughout the month of October, where we'll be bringing you local stories of survival, resources, and how you can help those who have been affected by breast cancer.

Different medical organizations have slightly altered guidelines for when and how often women should start seeking breast cancer screening. See the chart below for specific details.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 392197

Reported Deaths: 5186
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60432839
Washington42082398
Marion39986507
Clackamas32861382
Lane30179358
Jackson24956361
Deschutes23639185
Umatilla15135182
Linn14704179
Douglas13438292
Josephine10201246
Yamhill9787143
Klamath9072147
Polk8248102
Benton611138
Malheur592790
Coos5693107
Columbia433356
Jefferson420866
Lincoln363852
Union339255
Crook336356
Wasco317046
Clatsop262735
Baker220833
Tillamook217045
Hood River214537
Morrow197825
Curry192439
Harney119933
Grant108515
Lake105616
Wallowa76013
Sherman1913
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5087907

Reported Deaths: 74561
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152858627184
San Diego4074794340
Riverside3880835358
San Bernardino3748555967
Orange3346265736
Sacramento1684922447
Kern1578751804
Fresno1568972259
Santa Clara1522681929
Alameda1252361507
San Joaquin1076041834
Ventura1040841191
Contra Costa1038691046
Stanislaus915481417
Tulare861371099
San Francisco56931672
San Mateo56354629
Monterey52521626
Solano47693358
Santa Barbara47345553
Merced45086668
Sonoma43207412
Placer42204470
Imperial38516773
Kings35221362
San Luis Obispo31511360
Madera26233311
Shasta26113458
Butte25476318
Santa Cruz22268224
Yolo21590260
Marin18495249
El Dorado18325166
Sutter14577186
Napa13424105
Yuba1076389
Tehama10282130
Humboldt10183119
Nevada10029105
Mendocino857799
Lassen797656
San Benito782979
Tuolumne774691
Lake7046110
Amador578366
Siskiyou475855
Glenn457436
Calaveras442288
Del Norte376942
Colusa325921
Inyo256746
Plumas19397
Mono18924
Mariposa160718
Trinity99817
Modoc7725
Sierra2180
Alpine1080
Unassigned810
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