October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Why were some NFL players wearing pink on Sunday? To show their support for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

There's also a lot you can do to support efforts to find a cure and to make sure every women has access to regular mammography screening.

For more than 20 years, the observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month each October has provided a time to reflect on loved ones who have won and lost the battle against breast cancer. It's also an opportunity to raise awareness toward finding a cure, including encouraging women to get a regular mammography screening.

More than 230,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 40,000 will die of the disease, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services .

Department Secretary Kathleen Sebeluis said in a statement that regular mammography screening "can help lower breast cancer mortality by finding breast cancer early, when the chance of successful treatment is best."

"If 90 percent of women 40 and older received breast cancer screening, 3,700 lives would be saved each year," she said. "Costs, even moderate co-pays, deter many patients from receiving these important screenings. Under the Affordable Care Act, women's preventive health care – such as mammograms and screenings for cervical cancer – is covered with no co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs."

Breast cancer, considered a heterogeneous disease, occurs when malignant cancer cells form in the tissues of the breast. The disease is not always fatal, according to HHS, "it can be the beginning of learning how to fight, getting the facts and finding hope," according to a department statement.

For more information, visit the website for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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