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Breast Cancer Awareness: 5 things you didn’t know about breast cancer

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October is breast cancer awareness month, and for a good reason; approximately 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

Maybe you already know that breast cancer is pretty common. Maybe you already know why we see a lot of pink during the month of October. Maybe you know how important mammograms are for women later in life. But, there’s still a lot of information that people don’t know regarding breast cancer. Here are some facts to get you better educated on the disease.

1. A lump isn’t a sure sign of cancer.

Lumps are the most common sign of breast cancer, but 80 percent of them turn out to be benign! Other signs include persistent itching, nipple discharge, or a bug-bite like bump on the skin. Any changes or irregularities in your breasts should be reported to a doctor ASAP.

2. Secondhand smoke and alcohol increases your risk.

Studies have shown an increased risk in breast cancer (up to three times) for women regularly exposed to secondhand smoke. Drinking one alcoholic drink per day only slightly increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, but bump that up to two to five drinks a day, and the risk increases by one and a half times.

3. It’s not just genetics from the mother’s side that matter.

Genes from both the father’s and the mother’s side of the family play an important role in determining risk. If a relative on your father’s side had breast cancer, you have an increased risk of being diagnosed as well.

4. Men can get breast cancer.

More than 2,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. While this is a small number compared to how many women will be diagnosed, men are typically diagnosed at a later stage. How do men get breast cancer? They have breast tissue. But, their numbers are lower because their breast duct cells are less developed and they have less of the female hormones that can cause problems.

5. Early diagnosis is key in beating breast cancer.

According to estimates, 96 percent of women who detect their cancer early enough will be cancer-free in five years. The overall five-year survival rate is 89.4 percent, and 98.6 percent for those with localized forms of cancer. The earlier you can catch it, the better!

Sinclair Broadcasting is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we’re introducing Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness and prevention. Here’s a look at what causes are coming up:

January Shape Up U.S. Month

February American Heart Month

March National Nutrition Month

April National Autism Awareness Month

May National Asthma/Allergy Awareness Month

June Men’s Health Education and Awareness Month

July UV Awareness Month

August National Immunization Awareness Month

September Healthy Aging Month

October Breast Cancer Awareness

November American Diabetes Month

December Safe Driving Month