Special to the Spirit

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it is also crucial for people to become aware of the risks. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 231,840 people will be diagnosed this year in the United States. These estimates may be high so it is important to be proactive in detecting the disease early. There has been some progress in combating the disease, but many misconceptions still remain.

A big misconception of breast cancer is that only women are susceptible.

Stephanie Osawaru, a nurse at Abington Memorial Hospital, instantly stomped out this misnomer. 

“Yes, men are susceptible, just at a lesser percent,” Osawaru said.

Although men can have breast cancer, women are more at risk. The ACS says this is most likely because women naturally produce hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, which can promote cancer cell growth. However, the ACS reports that there has been a slight decrease in diagnosis in the last decade due to the declining use of hormone manipulation therapy. Hormone manipulation is among the risk factors, according to Osawaru.

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