Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Every person should know the symptoms and signs of breast cancer, and any time an abnormality is discovered, it should be investigated by a healthcare professional.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the breast tissue (Breast cancer facts, para. 1).

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation:

  • In 2023, an estimated 297,790 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S., as well as 55,720 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. 2,800 men are estimated to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during 2023.
  • 66% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage (there is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the breast), for which the 5-year survival rate is 99%.
  • This year, an estimated 43,170 women and 530 men will die from breast cancer in the U.S.
  • Although rare, men get breast cancer too. In 2021, an estimated 2,650 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in the U.S., and approximately 530 will die.
  • 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. It is estimated that approximately 30% of all new women cancer diagnoses will be breast cancer.
  • There are over 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
  • In recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, we have gradually reduced female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older.
  • Death rates from breast cancer have been declining (43%) since about 1989, partly due to better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.
breast cancer awareness month

While you can’t prevent breast cancer, being proactive about your health is crucial.

Early detection includes doing monthly breast self-exams, scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.

Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast). The American Cancer Society recommends mammography yearly for women ages 50-54 and every 1-2 years for women ages 55 and older (ACS Breast Cancer Early Detection Recommendations, para 6-8).

When diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s natural to want to know what might have caused it. However, the exact causes of breast cancer are still unknown. Doctors are rarely able to determine why one woman develops breast cancer, and another doesn’t. What is known is that breast cancer always results from damage to a cell’s DNA (Causes of breast cancer, para. 2).

Some risk factors (such as drinking alcohol) can be avoided. However, most risk factors (such as having a family history of breast cancer) cannot be avoided. Having a risk factor does not mean that a woman will get breast cancer. Many women with risk factors never develop breast cancer (Causes of breast cancer, para. 3).

How do I self-detect breast cancer or warning signs?

Most people with breast cancer symptoms and signs will initially notice only one or two, and these symptoms and signs do not automatically mean that you have breast cancer (Breast cancer symptoms and signs, para. 2)

Some changes to self-examine and watch for, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation:

breast cancer awareness

How to treat breast cancer:

The goal of treating early and locally advanced breast cancers is to get rid of cancer and keep it from coming back.

Treatment includes some combination of:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • HER2-targeted therapy (treatment to block the action of an abnormal protein (such as HER2) that stimulates the growth of breast cancer cells).
  • Immunotherapy

These treatments are designed to remove cancer from the breast and destroy any cancer that might still be in the body.

Join the awareness!

Let’s take this October as a celebration of life for the lives of those still in the battle and those we have lost. Everyone affected by breast cancer deserves to be seen and heard. There are many options in which you can get involved in this month’s activities, such as:

  • Donate or organize a fundraiser
  • Learn and spread the knowledge about breast cancer, its causes, risk factors, and treatment options
  • Volunteer with an assistance organization
  • Wear a pink ribbon, not as a fashion icon, but as a commitment to the cause
  • Support research efforts by donating or spreading the word about them

According to the Living Beyond Breast Cancer organization (LBBC), this year the theme is #THRIVE365, which aims to acknowledge the many ways people are living today with breast cancer, how they are dealing with or without inequities in their treatment, reconstruction options, body image, and sexuality.

Taking action for caring for patients with breast cancer and their families is a community effort. Their struggle is day to day, not only in October and not only as a seasonal trend.

Signature’s skilled nurses and licensed therapists have over 25 years of experience treating breast cancer patients with compassion and expertise. Our highly trained nurses will help you better understand your disease, medications, and treatment options and deliver peace of mind at home. Our therapists will help you regain function and design a customized exercise program for you –all in the comfort of your home.

For more information on how Signature Health Services can provide you with the best in home healthcare, please call (800) 277-8291

or email

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      ACS Breast Cancer Early Detection Recommendations. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved October 6, 2021, from 

Breast Cancer: Statistics. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). (2023, February 23). Cancer.Net.

     Breast cancer facts. National Breast Cancer Foundation. (2021, September 3). Retrieved October 6, 2021, from 

     Breast cancer symptoms and signs. National Breast Cancer Foundation. (2021, February 2). Retrieved October 6, 2021, from

     Causes of breast cancer. National Breast Cancer Foundation. (2020, October 29). Retrieved October 6, 2021, from


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