October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month when the annual campaign to raise public awareness and money for disease-related research occurs. More than 240,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, and there are approximately 40,000 related deaths each year. Persons at greatest risk include those with genetic mutations (BRCA 1 and 2), a positive family history of breast cancer, prior history of radiation therapy to the chest, dense breast tissue, age greater than 50, onset of menstruation before age 12, onset of menopause after age 55, prior use of diethylstilbestrol, alcohol consumption, hormone replacement therapy, sedentary lifestyle, obesity after menopause, first pregnancy after age 30, never having a full-term pregnancy, and not breastfeeding.
Routine breast cancer screening in women with average risk continues to be a controversial topic. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends twice-yearly mammography for women between 50 and 74 years of age. The choice to have a routine mammogram before age 50 should be a decision between the provider and patient after an informed conversation about the risks and benefits of routine mammography. The USPSTF does not recommend teaching patients how to properly perform a breast self-examination, and they do not believe there is enough evidence for or against routine clinical breast examination.
Read more about breast cancer:
Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2019: Chapter 1. Health Maintenance and Disease Prevention
Current Practice Guidelines in Primary Care 2018: Breast Cancer Screening
The MD Anderson Manual of Medical Oncology: Chapter 27. Early-Stage and Locally Advanced Breast Cancer
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Breast Cancer