October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (also dubbed Pinktober). Breast Cancer Awareness Month is “an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.”
The older I get and the older my followers become, the more likely it is that we will know someone who will be affected by breast cancer. That’s why I feel it is important to talk about breast cancer. Some of you reading this may have had a friend or family member diagnosed with breast cancer, or you may have been yourself.
Understand the Risks
According to CNN, “The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 271,270 new cases of breast cancer in 2019, 99% of which will be diagnosed in women.” Outside of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women. The CDC reports that “more than 40,000 women die from the disease.”
Additionally, “most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 10% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.”
While it is impossible to predict your risk by 100%, you may find it worthwhile to use a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
It is also wise for women to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. According to CNN Health, “Many women are taught to look for new lumps or masses in their breast tissue but it's important to be aware of other abnormalities. Skin swelling or redness, change in breast shape, nipple discharge (other than breast milk), pain in or on the breast, and skin flaking or dimpling can be other possible warning signs of breast cancer.”
One of the best ways to observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to donate to a reputable organization, such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc, where your donations go towards raising awareness of the disease and providing mammograms for women who can not afford them.
Wear a Pink Ribbon
Obviously, wearing a pink ribbon or a pink t-shirt will not cure the disease, but it will inspire hope for those battling the disease and their loved ones fighting alongside them.
Share Your Breast Cancer Story
If you or one of your loved ones has had breast cancer, tell your story on your social media outlets. Often, people fall into the trap of believing breast cancer will never happen to them because it hasn’t happened to anyone they know. By bringing awareness, you may inspire another woman to look for symptoms or schedule a mammogram.
Purchase Products That Give Back
Again, buying a pink breast cancer awareness product will not cure the disease, but many of the products being sold during October do give a significant portion of the sales directly to breast cancer organizations, which are providing funds for research. I love People’s Breast Cancer Awareness Products That Are Giving Back in a Major Way article.
Schedule a Mammogram
Last but certainly not least, if you are 40 or older, you need to schedule a mammogram. Here are the age recommendations from the American Cancer Society:
Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
According to Susan G. Komen, “Mammography is the most effective breast cancer screening tool today for most women.”