LOUISVILLE, Ky. — October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The month increases awareness of the disease and has a goal to help support nationwide research.

What You Need To Know

  • October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

  • 4,000 Kentucky women have been diagnosed with breast cancer so far in 2022, according to The American Cancer Society 

  • Doctors at UofL Health say the disease is treatable, and there are warning factors people should know 

  • Mammograms are recommended every year, starting at 40 for most women

The state of Kentucky continues to rank in the top 10, with the worst cancer rates in the country according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research at The American Cancer Society found nearly 4,000 Kentucky women have already been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2022.

Dr. Beth Riley serves as the deputy director for health affairs at UofL Health Brown Cancer Center, and she’s a breast medical oncologist. She says breast cancer is a highly treatable disease, and early detection is key according to doctors like her.

Mammograms should start at age 40 for most women, but some women may need to start earlier, depending on their genetics.

“Mammograms are not the most comfortable procedure to have done, but the reason that is because they’re trying to look through the breast to try to find any abnormalities. In doing that, their breast has to be compressed, so that’s uncomfortable for most women,” said Dr. Riley.

Taking note of risk factors is also important. Those risks include age, lack of physical activity, obesity, drinking alcohol, taking drugs and family history of the disease.

“So the best thing you can do is to understand what your risk of developing breast cancer might be and talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower that risk, how you can monitor yourself for the development of breast cancer,” said Dr. Riley.

Although it happens less frequently, men can contract breast cancer as well. Dr. Riley recommends men take notice of their breasts and flag any concerns to their physicians.

UofL Health will offer their mobile screening unit throughout the month of October in four locations, including Churchill Downs, First Baptist Church in Jeffersontown, Oxmoor Center, and the Sun Valley Community Center. To find the nearest location for mammograms or self-exam information, you can click here or here.