It’s October again! Which means it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness month and we will be at the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Charity Pink Ribbon Lunch on October 3rd as we have for over fifteen years. Allusions will have a table and will donate an item for the silent auction to help raise funds for the charity’s many wonderful programs.

The Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund held their first lunch in 2002 with about six hundred in attendance and has since grown every year to over one thousand six hundred. Their mission is to enhance the lives of women in the Tri-State area with programs like The Pink Ribbon Mammogram Match, providing potentially life-saving mammograms to low-income women; the Pink Ribbon Bag we give out at our office to newly diagnosed women containing items of knowledge, comfort, and support; the ProScan Pink Ribbon Centers, of which there are now three (on Red Bank Road, in Over the Rhine, and in Tri-County) which provide mammograms and other breast health care for women.

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among American women with one in eight being diagnosed in her lifetime. There is no currently known way to prevent breast cancer and the best way to fight it is still early detection which is why awareness is critical. It is recommended for women fifty to seventy years old to have a mammogram every two years. Women forty to forty-nine should discuss when to start screening and how often with their doctor.

As of September 2017, Ohio was the 23rd highest state for breast cancer diagnosis at 126.6 per 100k people. In Hamilton County specifically, between 2011-2015 there were 3,376 new cases of female breast cancer and 658 deaths from female breast cancer according to the Center for Disease Control. On a good note, awareness is making a difference. During those same years, seventy percent of the new cases were caught in the early stages.

Breast cancer is more common in older women, but it does occur in women younger than forty. Women of all ages should know the warning signs and symptoms and what steps they can take to lower their risk.

Symptoms and warning signs:

  • Unexplained change in size or shape of a breast
  • Pain in any area of a breast
  • Discharge from the nipple other than breast milk including blood.
  • Any new lump in the breast or underarm.

Having one or more of these warning signs is a reason to see your doctor.

There are many risk factors we have no control over, but some we do. Lifestyle choices that can reduce your risk include regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption to one drink a day (or none at all), breastfeeding your children if you can, and if you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control, talk to your doctor about the risks and if it’s right for you.