October is breast cancer awareness month, and hopefully you have known that way before now. We are pleased that the awareness for this disease has grown so much. Since my mother, mother-in-law, a couple of aunts, and numerous friends have been through their battles I may be more aware than the average woman.

However, there are still women over forty not getting regular mammograms or doing self exams. You know who you are. A few statistics from the U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics page:

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 57,650 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
  • About 39,520 women in the U.S. were expected to die in 2011 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1990 — especially in women under 50. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. Just under 30% of cancers in women are breast cancers.
  • In 2011, there were more than 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the US.
  • A woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
  • About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.

A good start is to participate in an awareness program, many of which are held throughout the year, not just in October. Here are a few of our favorites – tell us yours!

Susan G. Komen – Race for the Cure – Nationwide running events

Chicks n Chaps – Rodeo Clinics for women that promote breast cancer awareness

Tough Enough to Wear Pink – National Rodeo Breast Cancer Awareness Events

We are very proud of all of the survivors out there, especially our family members. Early detection is key…it really is all about AWARENESS.