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Breast cancer rates are rising — here’s what to know from an expert

Get up to speed on the new breast cancer screening guidelines ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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Hands Holding Breast Cancer Pink Paper Ribbon

Each October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month recognizes those who have lost, survived, or are currently fighting the battle of breast cancer.

Photo via Pexels

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1 in 8. That’s the number of women in the US who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. This year alone, over 297,000 American women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

But, some good news: If caught and treated early, the five-year relative survival rate of breast cancer is 99%, according to the 2023 SEER database.

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, here’s what you should know:

What’s new?

Studies show that the rate of younger women developing breast cancer has increased 1% annually since 2009, with the last four years increasing 2% per year.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare Breast Cancer experts recommend yearly breast screening to start at age 40 and annually thereafter.

Self-exams + how to get screened

In case you haven’t heard, most medical organizations no longer advocate for routine self-conducted breast exams.

That doesn’t mean you should rule out self-breast checks, though.

Instead, medical professionals recommend a focus on regular “breast awareness” (think: paying attention to any new lumps, moles, or skin discolorations).

If you find something abnormal, talk to your doctor right away. And, if you meet the above criteria, it may be time to schedule a mammogram.

Pro Tip: Roper St. Francis Healthcare has a free breast cancer screening event coming up:

  • When: Thursday, October 12 from 4-6:30 p.m.
  • Where: 2145 Henry Tecklenburg Dr.
  • Deets: Roper St. Francis Healthcare breast specialists will be offering free clinical breast exams for individuals 18+ who have not had a breast exam in the past 12 months and who are uninsured or underinsured.

How to help the cause

The reality is that breast cancer is more common now than ever among American women, and it affects everyone from patients to their families and friends.

While that reality can be scary, there are local programs that help illuminate hope for those affected by breast cancer in the Lowcountry — and your support can make a difference.

Contributions to The Roper St. Francis Foundation + Donna Fielding Cancer Wellness Institute can help remove barriers to cancer care, expand local cancer care facilities, fund trials + life-saving research, and more.

Honor the survivors and those battling breast cancer in our communities with your donation.