Every October, we are surrounded by a sea of pink to inspire hope and raise awareness of breast cancer. The month is dedicated to educating the public about breast cancer early detection, causes, prevention, treatment, support services and more. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in American women and about 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer sometime in her life. As the impacts of COVID-19 continue, October is a special time to keep all those affected by breast cancer in mind, and what we can do to detect it early and protect those at higher risk.
Did You Know?
- Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years of age or older, but about 11% of all new cases of breast cancer in the US are found in women younger than 45 years of age.
- Most women who get breast cancer have no known risk factors and no history of the disease in their families, however about 5-10% of breast cancer is hereditary, meaning it is caused by an inherited mutation (change) in one or more of several genes.
Breast Cancer Screening Options
Breast cancer screening is an important step in finding cancer early when it is easier to treat. While screening cannot prevent cancer, it’s a helpful tool in identifying signs or symptoms such as a lump. Screening options include:
- Clinical Breast Exam
- Self-Awareness and Self-Exams
Genetic Testing for Hereditary Breast Cancer Syndromes
Beyond these screening options, and for those with a family history of certain cancers, hereditary breast cancer screening may also be indicated. Genetic testing for hereditary breast cancer can help you better understand your risk of developing breast and other cancers. Your healthcare provider may recommend genetic testing for a hereditary breast cancer syndrome if you have been diagnosed with cancer at an early age, or if certain cancers run in your family. A genetic counselor can help determine based on your personal and family history of cancer, which test, if any, would be appropriate for you and your family. GenPath and BioReference Laboratories offers a comprehensive menu of genetic testing for hereditary breast cancers. If you think you may be at risk of hereditary breast cancer, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provide today to find your answers.
COVID-19 and Breast Cancer
While the CDC indicates that the risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 is low for most people, patients being treated for breast cancer may have a higher risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19. This is because some breast cancer treatments can weaken the immune system and possibly cause lung problems. To protect yourself and/or those you love and care for, it’s recommended to stay home, limit contact with others, and more. Click here for more information about COVID-19 and breast cancer.
This October, join BioReference Laboratories and GenPath and major breast cancer organizations in going pink to help increase awareness of the breast cancer, and support all those affected by the disease.
If you are a healthcare provider, click here to become a customer and discuss hereditary breast cancer testing solutions and other oncology offerings from BioReference today.
Source: American Cancer Society, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/young_women/index.htm), BreastCancer.org