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Good news: Breast cancer is way less deadly than it was a few decades ago


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Photo: Stocksy/Lucas Ottone

Though breast cancer remains as the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women, there is something to celebrate: According to a new study, its fatality rate dropped by 40 percent between 1989 and 2015—and that’s great news for women everywhere.

Since 1989, at least 322,600 deaths have been averted due in part to early detection through mammograms, as well as the improved methods to treat breast cancer. Still, despite the declining death toll, the disease is still impacting lives every day: US women have a one-in-eight chance of being diagnosed during their lifetime (Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus recently revealed she has fallen victim to that statistic).

Since 1989, at least 322,600 deaths have been averted due to early detection through mammograms, as well as the improved methods to treat breast cancer.

Luckily, there are science-backed strategies for implementing breast-cancer prevention early. According to the Cleveland Clinic, you can lower your risk by maintaining your ideal body weight, eating at least five to nine servings of fruits and veggies a day, limiting your alcohol intake, exercising at least two to three times per week, and making sure you have healthy levels of vitamin D (and if you don’t, a supplement can help).

Aside from trying to prevent the disease’s onset, also make sure you know how to detect its presence: Pay attention to how your breasts normally look and feel, and get checked out immediately if something seems off, says the American Cancer Society. Mammograms can only find so much; it’s up to you to speak up if you feel any lumps, have swollen lymph nodes, or experience any other signs or symptoms.

Breast cancer is a scary topic—and it affects even the healthiest women—but, with research concluding that things are looking up, stay positive (and, of course, informed).

Here’s how Athleta is helping breast cancer survivors get back into fitness. And if you want to give back during during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this is the chicest way to do it.