October 7, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES II • Page 7 National Breast CancerAwareness Month (ARA) Breast cancer is a widespread disease with an estimated 192,370 new cases diagnosed this year in women and 1,910 new cases diagnosed in men, according to the National Cancer Institute. This October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month celebrates 25 years of promoting awareness, education, and empowerment. Since its inception a quarter century ago, NBCAM has grown into a partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies at the forefront of promoting important breast cancer issues. In recognition of this 25th anniversary milestone, here are five simple ways to celebrate breast cancer awareness in your own life, courtesy of the NBCAM organization: Know your risks. The risk of developing breast cancer is not the same for all women. According to the National Cancer Institute, age is the single most important risk factor for breast cancer. But research has also shown that personal and family history of breast cancer, alterations in certain genes, reproductive and menstrual history, body weight, level of physical activity, and alcohol consumption are among the factors that affect a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about your risk of developing breast cancer. Practice healthy habits. While there are some breast cancer risk factors that women cannot avoid, such as age and genetics, there are also steps that women can take to help prevent breast cancer on their own. Women should know that exposure to tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption are risk factors for breast cancer, and other cancers. In addition, research suggests that women can decrease their risk of cancer simply by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. Make small changes now to embrace a healthier, Promote breast cancer awareness in your own life more active lifestyle tomorrow. You may want to start by adding a brisk lunch time walk to your day, adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, and limiting fat and alcohol intake. Schedule your annual mammogram. Evidence shows that early detection of breast cancer greatly improves a woman’s chance for successful treatment, and scheduling regular mammograms is the most effective way to catch cancer early. The American Cancer Society recommends that all women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year, and should continue to do so as long as they are in good health. For more information about breast cancer and screenings and to locate a free or lowcost clinic, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast or call (800) CDC-INFO. Know that there is hope. Thanks to early detection and improvements in treatment, more women are surviving breast cancer, remaining disease-free, and living longer, healthier lives. Today, nearly 90 percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer will survive the disease at least five years, up from just 75 percent 35 years ago, according to the National Cancer Institute. Moreover, the death rate from breast cancer in women has decreased by 2.2 percent annually between 1990 and 2004, according to the American Cancer Society. Today, there is a flourishing community of 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, and there is a great deal to be hopeful about. Educate yourself. Empower yourself by learning as much as possible about breast cancer. While October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the NBCAM organization wants to remind everyone that breast cancer awareness and education are important all year. 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