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Breast Cancer Awareness Month vital to health

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and with breast cancer being the most common cancer in women, aside from skin cancer, it’s vital that women become educated on the disease.

Breast cancer affects families each year – this year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among U.S. women, and some 40,170 are expected to lose the battle.

In fact, breast cancer is the second leading cancer-causing death among women. But, women aren’t the only ones who are affected. ACS estimates 1,910 new cases with be diagnosed among men.

With that many new cases arising each year, it’s important for men and women alike to understand the importance of early detection.

Knowing the earliest signs of breast cancer can save many lives, and one of the earliest signs can be an abnormality that shows up in a mammogram before it can be felt.

Still, the most common signs of breast cancer are a lump in the breast, abnormal thickening of the breast, or a change in the shape or color of the breast. For the past 25 years, the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month organization, which is a partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations and government agencies, has been working to promote breast cancer awareness, educate people on the disease and help provide greater access to screening services.

Most insurance plans cover all or some of the cost for a mammogram, and Medicare and Medicaid cover it for women age 40 and above.

For those who do not have health care plans, free or low-cost mammograms are available for women without health insurance in many locations. For a program near you, contact the Centers for Disease Control.

While, it’s important throughout the year for women and men to take advantage of screening options, we encourage those who haven’t taken the time to get proper screening this year to do so.