October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means we’ll be awash in pink – from pink ribbons, to pink t-shirts, to pink-tinged hair and jewelry. Even the National Football League will show its support through players wearing pink on some part of their uniform.

But there’s more to breast cancer awareness than wearing pink. After all, breast cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most prevalent type of cancer among women. That’s why, beyond the waves of pink, there’s a continual need to promote awareness, as well as educate women on steps they can take to reduce their likelihood of being diagnosed with the disease.

Here are some of the most important:

1. Know Your Facts

While we know more about breast cancer than ever before, and will continue to gain knowledge, it’s important to know the facts. For instance, there are over 230,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer every year in the United States, while it’s estimated that 40,000 women will die from the disease this year. Remember, knowledge is power and the more you know about breast cancer, the more likely you are to be proactive in monitoring and maintaining your health.

2. Get A Mammogram

There may be no better way for a woman to find out if she has breast cancer than by having a mammogram. A mammogram can detect cancer in its early stages when treatment can be its most effective. Make the most of Breast Cancer Awareness Month by scheduling your own mammogram.

3. Know The Risk Factors

There are a variety of risk factors, such as gender, age, genetic disposition, family history, and ethnicity. Other factors come into play, as well, such as having children, the use of birth control, post-menopause hormone therapy, and even the use of alcohol.

4. Lower Your Risk

All women can take steps to help lower their risk of getting breast cancer, including regular physical activity, losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and by limiting or avoiding alcohol intake. While there’s no sure way to prevent breast cancer, you can certainly lower your risk by taking any of the steps above.

5. Be An Advocate

Making others aware of the importance of getting a mammogram, educating themselves, and reducing risk factors is a great way to spread awareness about the disease. And also share the good news about how breast cancer rates have declined in recent years thanks to improvements in cancer research, early detection, and treatment of the disease.

6. Do Your Research, Then Donate

Before you give money to a breast cancer foundation or charity, do your research and determine if their mission is in line with your goals – whether it’s research for a cure, or to support women and families dealing with the disease. How much of your check will actually go to these goals?

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