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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! By Our October Student Pharmacist, Danae Rockwell.


National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is an annual health campaign organized by several breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of breast cancer and also raise money to investigate its cause, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

What is breast cancer?

Cancer cells are characterized by their abnormal ability to grow and invade healthy cells of the body. Breast cancer cells start in the breast tissue and can move to other areas of the body (a process known as metastasizing) as the disease progresses causing complications.

One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. This is an outrageously concerning number and women need to be aware of risk factors that may potentiate their likelihood of getting breast cancer.

Genetic Risk Factors

Breast cancer occurs almost 100 times more often in women than in men. Less than one percent of men will develop breast cancer.

Women over the age of 55 are also more likely to get breast cancer than those of a younger age.

Race is another factor. Caucasian women are diagnosed more often than women of other races.

Knowing your family history is also important. If your grandmother, mother, or sister has been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, you have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the future. Mutations in certain genes such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can increase your risk for breast cancer, as well. To determine if you have either of these genes, genetic testing must be done. If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about genetic testing. These risk factors cannot be avoided and women should be aware of their individual risk factors and be routinely checked by their physicians, as early detection is key to treatment and survival.

What You Can Do

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. It is important to know your own risk factors and visit your doctor annually for checkups to detect any signs of cancer. Again, early detection is key for treatment and survival. NBCAM promotes awareness for this disease and gives the opportunity to donate to charity to help those affected by breast cancer. Through early detection, education, and support services, we can fight breast cancer and hope to someday beat it for good!


  1. “Breast Cancer: Prevention and Control.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.
  2. How You Can Help – National Breast Cancer Foundation.” N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.
  3. Nbcf. The National Breast Cancer Foundation. www.nationalbreastcancer.org. NBCF, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.


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