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North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Macon-Bibb County Health Department Celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Free Exams

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Macon-Bibb County Health Department is celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness month by offering free clinical breast exams every Friday in October. County residents are invited to visit the health department Oct. 5, 12, 19 and 26 between 9 a.m. and noon for free exams. Clients that receive an exam will get a free t-shirt while supplies last.

“Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time for women to receive their clinical breast exam,” said Macon-Bibb County Health Department Nurse Manager Beverlyn Ming. “Like all cancers, early detection is the key to surviving breast cancer. The sooner breast cancer is found, the sooner treatment can begin. That’s why it’s so important for women to schedule clinical exams throughout the year.”

Breast cancer causes the cell in the breast to grow out of control. Second only to skin cancer, breast cancer is one of the leading cancers among American women. Though much more common in women, both women and men can be affected by the disease. Each year, nearly 41,000 women and 450 men in the US die from breast cancer.

An individual’s risk for breast cancer is determined by multiple factors, but the main factor is age. Most instances of breast cancer are found in women over 50 years old. In addition to age, other risk factors include:

  • A personal or family history of breast cancer or certain non-cancerous breast diseases.
  • Having menstrual periods before age 12, which leads to longer exposure to hormones.
  • Starting menopause after age 55, meaning a longer exposure to estrogen hormones.
  • Never going through a full-term pregnancy or having the first pregnancy after age 30 raises the risk.
  • Women who are overweight or obese after menopause have an increased risk.
  • Drinking, smoking and exposure to radiation or certain chemical may increase the risk of breast cancer.

Risk factors like family history and age cannot be changed, but there are some steps a person can take to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise and a healthy diet help to maintain a healthy weight which can lower a person’s risk. Limiting alcohol consumption, eliminating tobacco use and avoiding exposure to radiation and carcinogenic chemicals can decrease the risk. In addition, breastfeeding children can reduce a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

For more information on breast cancer, visit cdc.gov/cancer/breast. To learn more about the health department’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, visit NCHD52.org/BCCP.

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