October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the perfect time to promote mammography at your hospital.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and one out of eight women will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. But with early detection, treatment is highly successful, with a 98 percent survival rate. A mammogram is is simply an X-ray picture of your breasts, and is the most effective screening tool for detecting breast cancer early before any symptoms appear. The American Cancer Society offers the following screening guidelines for women with an average risk for breast cancer.
Women age 40 to 44 should have the choice to start screenings if they wish to do so.
Women age 45 to 54 should have a mammogram every year.
Women age 55 and older can switch to having a mammogram every two years or continue with a yearly screening. Screening should continue as long as the woman is in good health.
Be Proactive: Know Your Risks
If you have any of the risk factors for breast cancer, be sure to discuss them with your healthcare provider. You may need to have a mammogram at an earlier age and/or more often. Some of these risk factors include:
Family History: If you have a first-degree relative (mother, daughter, sister) who has had breast or ovarian cancer, your risk is doubled.
Previous Breast Cancer: Cancer in one breast results in a three- to four-fold increased risk of cancer in the other breast.
Breast Density: Women with denser breast tissue have a higher risk for breast cancer.
Staying Alert: Signs of Breast Cancer
You should see your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any of the following:
- A lump in the breast, in or near the armpit, or near the collarbone
- Skin redness or irritation
- Thickening or dimpling of the skin
- Pain in the breast or nipple
- Changes in the nipple, such as it turning inward
- Discharge from the nipple that is not breast milk
How to Lower Your Risk for Breast Cancer
1) Limit your alcohol: The risk of breast cancer is 20 percent higher for women who consume two to three alcoholic drinks per day.
2) Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit. It’s the single best thing you can do to improve your health.
3) Control your weight. After menopause, being overweight or obese increases your risk.
4) Stay physically active: Regular exercise appears to reduce the risk of breast cancer by 10 to 20 percent, especially in postmenopausal women.
Sources: CDC, webmd, Susan G. Komen, breastcancer.org
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a result, overall awareness is extremely high for this common medical condition. Consider capitalizing on the increased awareness to encourage women to schedule a mammogram. Consider special events, special promotional pricing, or gift bags for women who respond during October. October also provides a perfect opportunity for hospitals, clinics and healthcare providers to raise awareness about a wide range of overall women’s health services. Primary care providers and OB/GYNs are appropriate medical specialists to promote this awareness. Effective marketing tools might include social media, digital media, print and special events. They should be accompanied by a strong call to action to learn more or to schedule a mammogram.
About Brentwood Communications, Inc.
Brentwood Communications specializes in healthcare marketing. Through our monthly AdBank subscription service, thousands of field-tested marketing materials — including content related to breast cancer, mammography and women’s health — are available and can be easily customized to reflect your hospital or clinic’s existing brand.
Brentwood Communications also helps hospitals stay in touch with their communities through an informative and cost-effective digital and printed magazine called My Hometown Health, a powerful tool to help promote better health and raise awareness of key services available at the hospital. Emmy-nominated talk show host, choreographer and Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba is featured in the current Fall 2021 magazine. Carrie Ann talks openly about her struggle with chronic autoimmune disease.