Science & Technology
9:37 am
Mon October 3, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

For this year's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Pittsburgh affiliate is urging women to move beyond awareness and take steps to prevent breast cancer. The slogan is "Less talk, more action."

"We think that [women] are aware of breast cancer, that one in eight women will be diagnosed in their lifetime, and that every thirteen minutes a woman dies from breast cancer in this country," said Kathy Purcell, Executive Director of the Susan G. Komen group in Pittsburgh. "So, what we really want women to do, this October especially, is to know what they should be doing health-wise and take action for themselves."

That means frequent clinical breast exams, a healthy lifestyle, knowledge of family medical history, and self-examinations as well, said Purcell. She said women should "know their breasts" so they can check themselves.

Purcell said women aged 20-40 should seek a mammogram every three years, and women 40 years or older should be checked by a professional on an annual basis.

A woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes in the U.S., she said, with about 200,000 new diagnoses each year.

Purcell noted that breastfeeding can also help reduce the risk of breast cancer, and urged that women do so when possible.

Men can get breast cancer as well, Purcell said, with about 2,000 new cases of male breast cancer each year. She said men with a family history of the illness should be wary of it.

The American Cancer Society will hold a fundraising walk to support breast cancer research October 29 on the North Shore.