October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Trumbull Monroe Health District encourages all women over 40 years of age to schedule a mammogram. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages.

“TMHD is dedicated to educating residents about good breast health,” said Patrice Sulik, TMHD Director of Health. “Regular mammograms are the single most effective method of early detection of breast cancer.

“TMHD encourages residents to conduct regular self- breast exams and to schedule an annual appointment and mammogram with their health care provider,” Sulik said. “Breast Cancer educational materials are available at TMHD.”

Breast cancer is a group of cancer cells that starts in the cells of the breast. They grow and can spread into surrounding tissues as well as other areas of the body. The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get it, too. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends all women age 40 and over to have a mammography screening each year because the risk of breast cancer increases sharply with age. ACS estimates 3,050 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in Connecticut women in 2013 and approximately 460 cases will result in death.

All women are at risk of developing breast cancer simply because they are women. Women who have a family history of breast cancer, have never had children or have their first child after age 30 are at increased risk. Other risk factors include race, genetics, obesity and high-fat diets, socioeconomic status and alcohol consumption.

Don't wait. Schedule your mammogram today.

The mission of the Trumbull Monroe Health District is to protect the health of residents, and to prevent disease. For more information on the Trumbull Monroe Health District call 203-452-5195, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit our website at www.tmhd.org.