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Published on October 15, 2020

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

breast cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness is everywhere during the month of October.  Pink ribbons are plentiful, products are festooned with pink, and there are fundraising benefits and galas held all month long. Despite these efforts, the average American knows little about breast cancer. Here are some facts and information that you may or may not know about breast cancer:

  • Breast cancer is a disease where malignant cancer cells form in the tissues of the breast.
  • One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 or older.
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except skin cancers.
  • In 2020, it is estimated that nearly
    • 300,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
    • 50,000 women will be diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer.
    • 43,000 women will die from breast cancer.
    • 3,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 500 will die.
  • Every two minutes, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • There are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the US.
  • Globally, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women.


The good news is that there has been a gradual reduction in breast cancer incidences in women 50 and older. This is likely due to many factors, which include better screening methods, a push towards early detection, better treatment options, and increased awareness.

Early detection is a key part of surviving breast cancer. While there are cases that can only be determined by using professional screening methods like mammograms and ultrasounds, there are some signs that women can watch out for with their breasts:


  • Breast pain
  • Uneven breast tissue (sometimes visible) or a change in breast shape
  • Nipple discharge or blood (not including breast milk)
  • A lump in the breast or the breast area near the underarm
  • Inverted nipples with scaly skin


Breast cancer prevention is also much like other cancers in that a healthy lifestyle will help lower your risk. Make sure to watch your blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise regularly and eat healthy, fresh, unprocessed food. Limit your alcohol intake or abstain completely.


If you have any of the above symptoms or are concerned about anything with your breasts or the tissue surrounding them, please call your doctor. It is better to go in and find out everything is okay than not go and symptoms worsen. UNC Lenoir Health Care can help you find a physician who is on the cutting edge of breast cancer awareness, diagnosis, and treatment. Contact us at 252-522-7000 to learn more. You can also learn more about breast cancer on UNC Lenoir’s Breast Cancer Condition Overview web page.