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Macon-Bibb County Health Department Invites Community to Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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County Health Department Offering Free Breast Exams Every Friday in October

Each October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is celebrated to recognize those fighting against breast cancer and to honor those that fought against the disease. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is important to remember the importance of early detection and regular breast exams to catch cancer while it can be treated.

Macon-Bibb County Health Department invites the community to observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month at the “Pink Out” event on Oct. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. During this event, health department staff will be providing services, education, refreshments and giveaways to participants.

Throughout the entire month of October, Macon-Bibb County Health Department will be offering free breast exams every Friday of the month, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time get a breast exam,” said Macon-Bibb County Health Department Assistant Nurse Manager Veronica Dumas-Dewberry. “Early detection is the key to surviving breast cancer, so regular exams are important. The sooner breast cancer is found, the sooner treatment can begin.”

Breast cancer causes the cells in the breast to grow out of control. Breast cancer is one of the leading cancers among American women, second only to skin cancer. 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.

While multiple factors contribute to a person’s risk of breast cancer, 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.

“We invite everyone to take advantage of the of the free exams being offered at the health department,” said Dumas-Dewberry. “And we encourage women to use our breast cancer services throughout the year. Through our breast cancer program, women can receive free breast exams if they qualify.”

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

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