A lump or a sensation that an area feels different from the surrounding tissue
Pain in the breast
Abnormal discharge from the nipple
Change in breast size or shape
Changes to skin on the nipple or breast
Main Risk Factors
Gender: Women are 100 times more like to develop breast cancer than men.
Age: The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, although women of all ages are at risk.
Race and ethnicity: According to the American Cancer Society, white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer, but African-American women are more likely to die.
Family History: Having relatives with breast cancer dramatically increases the chances of developing breast cancer.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray of the breast that can detect extremely small tumors not felt during breast exams. Mammograms are widely considered to be the best defense against breast cancer because if it is discovered and treated while still confined to the breast, most women survive and live full, active lives.
Who should have mammograms? When?
All women over 40 should have a yearly mammogram as well as any man or woman who is experiencing one of the symptoms of breast cancer.
KRMC: $280, but only $99 in October
Havasu Regional Medical Center: $194.50
National Average: $290, according to New Choice Health
The Affordable Care Act mandates that all insurance cover yearly mammograms with no deductibles or co-pays for women over 40.
For women who cannot afford a mammogram out of pocket, offerings such as the KRMC Foundation's Catch It Early and Havasu Regional's Cancer Association of Havasu have programs set up to assist women who are looking to get a mammogram.
A healthy lifestyle with good diet and exercise can decrease the risk slightly. However, even healthy women are diagnosed with breast cancer.
Getting diagnosed with breast cancer is a death sentence: This isn't usually the case. If it is caught early and the cancer is confined to the breast, most women will survive treatment and live long, active lives.
The treatment is long and painful: While advanced stages of breast cancer can require chemotherapy and hormone therapy, if caught early, local therapy can be administered to treat a tumor at the site without affecting the rest of the body, according to the American Cancer Society. Some women can even receive treatment without affecting their work schedule.
Breast cancer only affects older women: Women can develop breast cancer at any age. However, the risk goes up as a woman ages.
Men can't get breast cancer: Breast cancer overwhelmingly affects women, but there are about 2,000 men in the United States each year diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast cancer isn't as deadly as other ailments, yet they get the most funding and attention. Why?: It's difficult to quantify deaths compared to other cancers, but breast cancer tends to be one of the more frightening ones because it can affect healthy individuals and people die as a result of the cancer. Colon cancer has a higher death rate and, much like breast cancer, is hard to prevent and can develop in very healthy individuals. It isn't as discriminatory as breast cancer, which overwhelmingly targets women over men. Prostate cancer patients often die with that cancer rather than as a result of it.
State of the fight against breast cancer
The Center for Disease Control tracks incident and mortality trends for different kinds of cancer. For breast cancer, incident rates have remained the same since 2001. Death rates, however, have decreased by 2 percent since 2001. This can be attributed to awareness and the push to make yearly mammograms accessible and affordable for all women, as catching it early significantly improves the chances of survival.
In recent years, while risk factors such as age and ethnicity have been identified, exactly how these risk factors cause breast cancer is still unknown. According to the American Cancer Society, hormones seem to play a role in many cases, but how is not fully understood.
Most funding raised to fight breast cancer goes toward offsetting the costs of treatment, awareness, and funding and promoting yearly mammograms. Because early detection grants the best chance for survival, mammograms are critical in reducing death rates.
The 'Pink Ribbon'
The symbol of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the pink ribbon, which dates as far back as the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. Yellow ribbons were tied around public trees in support of the hostages held in Iran, which is thought to be inspired from the song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree." The song is based off an American folk tale where a prisoner asks his love to tie a yellow ribbon around a tree in front of their house to signal that she wants him to come home.
AIDS activists adopted the ribbon in the late 1980s, turning it red and creating the loop. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation then adopted the ribbon in 1991, handing out pink ribbons to breast cancer survivors running in the "Race for the Cure" in New York City.
Who gets your donation?
"Pinkwashing" is the term coined for all the marketing programs used by nonprofits and businesses alike that capitalize on the cause to raise money for breast cancer programs.
Identifying programs that will use this money primarily for programs can be difficult because, for the most part, nonprofits and groups tend to keep their finances quiet. Also, businesses are not required to disclose what percentage they donate from their "pink" products.
Each registered nonprofit, however, is required to disclose its revenue and expenses each year on Form 990 through the IRS. The public is free to look at those forms to see where the money is going, and the forms are searchable via their EIN number.
Another resource is Charity Navigator, which takes the publicly disclosed Form 990s for most charities out there and puts that information into a database searchable on the web and through their mobile app.
They divide the finances into categories.
"Program Expenses" is the amount of money spent directly on the programs that the nonprofits conduct.
"Administrative Expenses" is the amount of money spent on staff and keeping the nonprofits operation going.
"Fundraising Expenses" is the amount of money spent on raising money for the charity.
They also use a "Fundraising Efficiency" metric, which divides the amount spent on fundraising by the amount brought in. The lower the number, the better.
Nonprofits strive to spend as much as possible on programs and as little as possible on administration and fundraising.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Statistics
Program Expenses: 82.8 percent - 238,833,856
Administrative Expenses: 6.3 percent - 18,172,141
Fundraising Expenses: 10.7 percent - 30,863,795
Fundraising Efficiency: $0.13/dollar
Nancy Brinker, Founder/CEO: $560,896
Elizabeth Thompson, President: $606,461
Total Revenue 2013: $263,673,268
Total Expenses 2013: $288,446,687
KRMC Foundation (Governing the "Catch It Early" Program) (2011)
Program Expenses: $292,425 - 78.7 percent
Administrative Expenses: $30,510 - 8.2 percent
Fundraising Expenses: $48,794 -13.1 percent
Fundraising Efficiency: $0.41/dollar
Total Revenue 2011: $313,633
Total Expenses 2011: $320,966
Krystal Burge, President: $0
Monica Busch, VP: $0
Kingman Cancer Care Unit (2013)
Program Expenses: $48,945 - 92.6 percent
Administrative Expenses: $2,974 - 5.6 percent
Fundraising Expenses: $915 - 1.7%
Fundraising Efficiency: $0.01/dollar
Dorthy Brown, President: $0
Nancy Rembold, VP: $0
Total Revenue 2013: $69,043
Total Expenses 2013: $51,919
Breast cancer statistics
Most found in women 50 years or older (CDC) (see the charts on Page 1)
11 percent found in women younger than 45
Most common cancer in women (CDC)
2011 statistics (CDC)
220,097 women and 2,078 men diagnosed in USA
40,931 women and 443 men died in USA
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer
Prostate cancer statistics
2011 Statistics (CDC)
209,292 men diagnosed in the U.S.
27,970 men died in the U.S.
Colorectal cancer statistics
2011 Statistics (CDC)
70,099 men and 65,161 women diagnosed in the U.S.
26,804 men and 24, 979 women died in the U.S.