+ -Text Size

Protect Yourself From Breast Cancer

Article date: October 1, 2009

If you see pink everywhere you turn this month, here's why: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when survivors, advocates, and health organizations strive to raise awareness of the progress we're making together in fighting this disease – and the things women can do to protect themselves.

Since 1990, more and more women have been surviving breast cancer, largely because of early detection through mammography and improvements in treatment. However, breast cancer is still the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer.

Mammograms can find breast cancers earlier, when they are easier to treat and the chances of survival are higher. That's why the American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms and breast exams for women 40 and older. If you're putting off getting your mammogram because you're scared or nervous, watch some real women talk about their experience. You'll see this life-saving test is nothing to be afraid of.

And don’t forget that in addition to getting a yearly mammogram, there are steps women can take to reduce their risk of breast cancer:

  • Eat a healthy diet to help control weight, since being overweight or obese may raise breast cancer risk. 
  • Get regular physical activity. The American Cancer Society recommends 30 minutes a day, 5 or more days a week. Forty-five to 60 minutes a day is even better for reducing breast cancer risk. 
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than 1 drink per day. Alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

And perhaps most important, be sure to talk to your doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts or have any other concerns. That conversation could save your life.

Trouble remembering to schedule your mammogram? Sign up for our mammogram reminder tool.


Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff

ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.

Was this article helpful?

If you have a question or comment that requires a response from us, please use the form location on the Contact Us page.

Thank you for your feedback.