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.

Confirmed Cases: 4243

Reported Deaths: 153
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah116559
Marion96025
Washington73917
Clackamas31211
Deschutes1250
Umatilla1163
Linn1159
Polk9812
Lane733
Yamhill707
Jackson660
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath440
Jefferson330
Malheur320
Coos310
Douglas270
Wasco241
Josephine231
Hood River180
Columbia160
Lincoln120
Morrow110
Curry70
Union60
Tillamook60
Crook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111951

Reported Deaths: 4172
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles550012362
Riverside7486323
San Diego7481269
Orange6261147
San Bernardino5246204
Alameda339096
Santa Clara2776141
San Francisco258842
Kern225038
San Mateo210484
Tulare184484
Fresno174335
Santa Barbara164912
Imperial163427
Contra Costa145037
Sacramento140056
Ventura107833
San Joaquin85834
Kings7464
Stanislaus74429
Sonoma5534
Monterey53010
Solano51722
Marin48314
Merced2837
San Luis Obispo2691
Placer2159
Santa Cruz2132
Yolo21124
Napa1123
Madera1062
Humboldt1013
El Dorado900
San Benito872
Sutter462
Del Norte450
Butte440
Nevada411
Shasta394
Mono371
Mendocino300
Yuba301
Lake210
Inyo201
Amador190
Mariposa161
Glenn160
Calaveras150
Siskiyou70
Colusa50
Lassen50
Tuolumne40
Plumas40
Tehama41
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
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