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Breast Cancer Awareness

Every October, the nation observes National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is a disease that affects both men and women and is among the most common cancers. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Next year, new breast cancer diagnoses are expected to number more than 200,000 for women and more than 2,000 for men.

This month, Benefits.gov is raising awareness of preventative measures and helpful resources that may help you and your loved ones beat the odds.

National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

Early detection is key. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), helps low-income, uninsured, and under-served women gain access to lifesaving screening services for early detection of breast and cervical cancers. This program provides clinical breast examinations, mammograms, and Pap tests for participants as well as diagnostic testing for women whose screening outcome is abnormal. Women age 40 and above should talk to their doctors about when and how often to get a mammogram. To find free and low-cost screenings near you, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use their interactive map.

What can I do to improve my chances of staying breast cancer free?

There are many steps you and your loved ones can take to improve your chances of staying healthy:

  • Conduct monthly self-exams. In addition to medical screenings, the National Breast Cancer Foundation and many medical professionals recommend a monthly self-exam. To learn how to do a breast self-exam, check out this self-exam guide offered by NationalBreastCancer.org.
  • Quit smoking. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), smoking is a significant risk factor for breast and many other types of cancer. Non-smokers are at lower risk than smokers regardless of your age or how long you have been a smoker.
  • Exercise more. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can also lower your risk factors.

Need additional information?

Curious about signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatment? You can learn more at Cancer.gov. Also be sure to check out this article October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month for more resources and information on breast cancer, early detection and prevention.

Breast cancer is a life-threatening illness, but it can also be treatable with early detection and other preventative measures. Benefits.gov hopes these resources will help you stay informed and take steps to lower risk factors or get treatment for yourself or a loved one. If you are looking for additional resources, we encourage you to take the Benefit Finder questionnaire to see what benefits you may be eligible to receive.