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Beyond the pink ribbons and the walks and the fundraising that will fill the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness month offers hope to many women who have been diagnosed with one of the  different forms of breast cancer. 

Whether you are man or a women, we all have been affected by this cancer. At some point in your life your grandmother, mother, sister, aunt or a friend of a friend, has been or will be diagnosed with some form of breast cancer. Though the majority of psychological and emotional suffering is experienced through the eyes of the one with the cancer, the entire family is impacted by the mental strain and physical scars that are ongoing.

Nationally, we have come a long way in knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Certainly, three are many more survivors than ever in our history. However, we need to remain vigilant around our bodies and what to look for and worry about. With that being said, I am listing some facts that you may or may not know  about this thing we call breast cancer. Lets keep learning, fighting and inspiring for a cure.

1. The leading risk factor for breast cancer is simple being a woman. 100 times more common in women than men.

2. A woman has about a one in eight chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to he National Cancer Institute.

3. Most women (about eight out of ten) who get breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.

4. Women who have a close blood relative with breast cancer have a higher risk. Having a first degree relative (mother, sister or daughter) almost doubles a woman's risk.

5. Another top risk factor for breast cancer: is simply getting older. Most breast cancers are found in women age 55 or older.

6. Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women after skin cancer.

7. Thanks to new treatments and early detection, the five-year relative-survival rate for women with breast cancer is 90%.

8. About 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers can be traced to specific, inherited gene mutations, such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.

9. Fewer than 1 percent of the general population have a BRCA mutation.

10. Women with the BRCA1 OR BRCA2 gene mutation are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age, as well as developing cancer in both breasts.

11. While non-hispanic white women have higher rates of breast cancer incident, African American women have a higher incidence rate before age 40 and are more likely to die from breast cancer at every age.

12. Women with dense breasts on mammograms have a risk of breast cancer that is about 1.5 to 2 times that of women with average breast density.

13. Women who have had more menstrual cycles because they started  early (before age 12) or went through menopause later (after 55) have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer.

14. The American Cancer Society continues to recommend women should have he choice to start annual breast cancer screenings with mammograms at the age of 40.

15. Exercise reduces breast cancer risk for women of all body types-even lean women according to Leslie Bernstein, PH.D., Director of biomarkers of early detection and prevention.

16. Minimize alcohol intake to control risk. That means one glass of wine, or beer or one hard liquor drink per day.

17. Quit smoking to control risk of many diseases, including breast cancer. Younger women who smoke have a higher risk of breast cancer than their nonsmoking peers.

18. According to the National Institute of Health, breast cancer survivors are at an increased risk f osteoporosis. Estrogen has a protective effect on bones, and reduced estrogen levels can trigger bone loss.

19. Women often detect breast cancer themselves. so don't underestimate the importance of a monthly breast exam. By becoming familiar with your breast tissue and appearance, you will be more likely to notice changes should they occur.

20.  If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, a second opinion could save your life. 

Lets all do our part in increasing education, awareness and support for all those currently struggling with breast cancer and those who will follow.

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