October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease.
Cancer is a major health problem that affects the well-being and survival of the U.S. population. One in four deaths in the United States is due to cancer, and the lifetime probability of being diagnosed with an invasive cancer is 44% for men and 38% for women. Because of the rapidly aging population, cancer incidence is expected to rise by 45% to 2.3 million new diagnoses per year by 2030. Approximately 75% of U.S. cancer deaths are linked to potentially avoidable lifestyle and environmental factors; thus, emphasis has been placed on primary prevention and early detection of cancer. U.S. federal and nonfederal agencies acknowledge the existence of cancer disparities related to gender, age, race, ethnic origin, income, social class, disability/ability, and geographic location, but little focus and money have been devoted to assessing and understanding differences in the cancer burden associated with sexual orientation and gender identity.
What we do know is that lesbian, gay, and bisexual women have a greater risk of breast cancer than other women. This is not because of their sexual orientation. Rather, it is linked to breast cancer risk factors that tend to be more common among women in our community. For example, LGB women may be more likely to never have children, or have them later in life. Lesbians also tend to have higher rates of obesity and alcohol use. All of these factors increase breast cancer risk.
At this time, data on the risk of breast cancer among transgender people is limited. If you are transgender, talk with a doctor about your breast cancer risk and which screening tests may be right for you. It is important to find a doctor who is sensitive to your needs, and to see a doctor on a regular basis.
At the end of the day, we recommend that if you got ‘em, screen ‘em.
To learn more about our cancer screening access and support, click here.