October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Let’s paint October pink. Yes, I said pink and I said it in support of Breast Cancer. October is not just the start of cooler weather, costume parties and game-day Sundays; it is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Breast cancer is when cells in the breast become abnormal, multiply and combine forming a tumor; it is the most common cancer found in women today. Did you know that in 2014, more than 232,000 women will get breast cancer? Or how about that it is estimated that 3 million women are currently living with it? Or what about the fact that approximately 13% of all women in the U.S. will develop cancer in their lifetime?

Chances are you know someone or know someone who has a family member or friend with the disease. And yes, it is scary, but there is no need to fear the words “you have breast cancer.” Over the last decade there have been huge advances in the detection and treatment of the disease. The number of breast cancer cases has actually stabilized over the last ten years and death rates have fallen on average 1.9% each year over 2002 and 2011.

Breast Cancer Awareness & Prevention

There may be no definitive cure for breast cancer or, for that matter, cancer in general, but women are now given a better chance to fight and higher chances of survival. A history of breast cancer in your family does not mean that you’re destined to get it. Take Angelina Jolie for example; her preventive breast cancer surgery drastically reduced her genetic risk for breast cancer. Her actions prove you play the most important role in protecting yourself against this disease and experts agree that minimizing the risk of breast cancer has three components.

  1. Early Detection – There are three different ways to check for Breast Cancer.
    • Breast Self-Exam, performed at home by you, simply feel your breasts and underarms for any lumps and bumps as well as changes in breast size and shape.
    • Clinical Breast Exam, similar to the self-exam, the same steps will be performed by your doctor.
    • Mammogram, an X-ray of the breast(s) is the most effective way to detect breast cancer, because it can provide symptoms unseen by the natural eye and unfelt to the human touch.
  2. Education – It is important to know the risk factors  associated with breast cancer because it does not discriminate. Age, personal history and family history are just a few—in the very long list—of the risks factors linked with the disease.
  3. Lifestyle – Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle with a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables and regular activity like running or yoga, can lower your risk for infections, illness and disease including breast cancer.

How YOU Can Get Involved in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

The fight against Breast Cancer is 24/7, but the month of October is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness – and what better way to bring attention to the cause than to color it PINK! The substantial progress in the fight against breast cancer was not made without the efforts of hundreds of thousands people around the world — patients, survivors and friends and families.  You can get involved, too. Here are a few ways:

  • Donate – A donation of JUST $100 can provide a mammogram to a woman in need.
  • Start or Join a Fundraiser – Participate or begin benefit events/join a group already established in your local community or find and participate in a NBCF event near your neighborhood
  •  Become a Sponsor – You can sign up to support breast cancer through (but not limited to): National Breast Cancer Foundation, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Avon Foundation for Women
  • Go Shopping! – Online or in the stores, a percentage of your purchases of Breast Cancer Awareness merchandise go directly to fund further Breast Cancer research.

I Bet You Didn’t Know ….

You probably have only heard of breast cancer in women. Well guess what?  Men can get breast cancer, too. Although comparatively rare, it still accounts for approximately 1% of all breast cancer diagnoses, or more than 20,000 cases annually. Male breast cancer advocacy groups like Out of the Shadow of Pink, A Man’s Pink, and the Brandon Greening Foundation have joined together and in coordination with the organizers of Breast Cancer Awareness month, have designated the third week of October, “Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week.”

Sources – in order of appearance:

  1. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/breast.html. Breast Cancer Stats. National Cancer Institute.
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/screening.htm . Breast Cancer, What Screening Tests Are There? CDC.
  3. http://womenshealth.gov/breast-cancer/risk-factors-prevention/index.html . Breast Cancer, Risk Factors and Prevention. Women’s Health.
  4. http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-sponsor . Become a Sponsor. National Breast Cancer Foundation.
  5. http://ww5.komen.org/Partners/PartnersSponsors.html . Partners & Sponsors. Susan G. Komen.
  6. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/malebreast/Patient/page1 . General Information about Male Breast Cancer. National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
  7. http://www.outoftheshadowofpink.com/ . Male Breast Cancer Awareness. Out of the Shadow of Pink.
  8. http://www.malebreastcancer.ca/ . Male Breast Cancer. MaleBreastCancer.ca.
  9. https://www.causes.com/causes/369311-brandon-greening-foundation-for-breast-cancer-awareness/about . Brandon Greening Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness. Causes.

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