It is October, which means you’ve likely seen some form of breast cancer awareness month facts, ribbons, or campaigns plastered over billboards, commercials, social media, and even your Monday night football games. Since 1985, organizations have used October breast cancer awareness month to spread information about the disease in hopes of decreasing the rate of death related to breast cancer in both women and men. Informing yourself and others about the signs of breast cancer and methods of prevention is vital in ensuring that you and those around you reduce your risk.
Knowledge is power and that is why breast cancer awareness month is so important. As organizations, businesses, and survivors share facts about the disease, more and more women (and men) learn about how to reduce their own risk and detect abnormalities early on. If you are asking yourself “Why is breast cancer awareness month important?”, turn to the millions of women who were able to defeat the disease due to early detection and continuous screening. Treatment of breast cancer is most successful when detected in its early stages, which is why educating women about self-exams, the signs of breast cancer, and raising funds to ensure individuals from all economic backgrounds get the medical attention they need is so important.
The month of October became breast cancer awareness month back in 1985 when a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries was created. Together, the two entities worked to spread breast cancer awareness month facts in hopes of diminishing the number of cases that pop up every year. Since then, more and more organizations have used October breast cancer awareness month as an opportunity to further the message: early diagnosis is key to defeating the disease and in many cases that early detection will come from the patient herself.
Without a doubt, one of the most important things to know about breast cancer is that the disease is most treatable in its early stages, which is what makes early detection and continuous screening so important. Breast cancer affects around 1 in 8 women in the United States and while numbers vary per country, the fact is that breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in women around the world, taking hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Knowing these and other important breast cancer awareness month facts could help save your life.
Recognizing abnormalities in your breasts is only possible when you first know what your normal breast tissue feels like. Performing monthly self-exams is the best way to detect abnormalities early on and keeping up with your yearly physicals is the next best option.
Lumps in and around the breast, including in the underarm region.
Any type of swelling of the breast as a whole or in smaller parts.
Dimples or other skin irritations in and around the breasts.
Persistent pain within the breast.
Any form of discharge from the nipple that isn’t breast milk.
A change in the shape or size of your breasts
Redness or discoloration of the nipple or surrounding breast tissue.
Some of the most important things to know about breast cancer is how to reduce your risk.
Engaging in physical activity at least three times a week can drastically reduce your chance of developing breast cancer.
Limiting your fat intake helps to combat the disease because it discourages tumor growth that results when too much estrogen is being produced.
Keeping your alcohol consumption to a minimum is a good way to reduce your risk. Beer, wine, and spirits increase estrogen in your bloodstream, which encourages the growth of tumors.
Take the time this breast cancer awareness month to give yourself a little love. Learn the signs of breast cancer and how you can reduce your risk so that you can live a full and happy life.