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: 155597

Reported Deaths: 2208
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31877528
Washington21211212
Marion18468285
Clackamas13380175
Lane10258126
Jackson8395112
Umatilla765982
Deschutes595259
Yamhill378364
Linn359056
Malheur335158
Polk306442
Klamath279155
Douglas247454
Benton234416
Josephine234050
Jefferson195828
Coos149119
Union128419
Columbia126521
Wasco122126
Lincoln113220
Hood River106929
Morrow104914
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6567
Curry4296
Tillamook4142
Lake3766
Harney2736
Grant2231
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3566914

Reported Deaths: 52158
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119192321435
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2866072874
Orange2612203917
San Diego2600913284
Santa Clara1106211777
Kern102627827
Fresno953931443
Sacramento932811472
Alameda806681242
Ventura77623844
San Joaquin665691101
Contra Costa62248681
Stanislaus56132946
Tulare47784758
Monterey42138328
San Mateo38998515
San Francisco34260412
Santa Barbara31805411
Solano30024164
Merced28915397
Sonoma28141298
Imperial26903591
Kings21955218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15467209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12834185
Shasta10985174
Butte10962160
El Dorado9095100
Napa903869
Sutter884597
San Benito576759
Yuba573337
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Nevada396074
Tuolumne394659
Mendocino379643
Amador346341
Humboldt318033
Lake315641
Glenn222523
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128737
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
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