October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, initiated by the American Cancer Society in 1985, and since then an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease.

There are still about 1.38 million new cases worldwide and 458 000 deaths from breast cancer each year (Source: The World Health Organisation). But breast cancer death rates declined 40% from 1989 to 2016 among women. The progress is attributed to improvements in early detection (Source: American Cancer Society). When breast cancer is detected early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured.

Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams. Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, according to the Johns Hopkins Medical center states. When combined with regular medical care and appropriate guideline-recommended mammography, breast self-exams can help women know what is normal for them so they can report any changes to their healthcare provider.

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