October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s time to pull resources together to combat the disease. While multiple organizations that are actively fighting for a cure support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries started the observance. Since 1985, every October has served as a time to focus on strategies, raise money for research and focus on new treatments aimed at eradicating this disease. While there are many aspects to creating awareness, the singular aim for the observance is to promote mammographies.
The charity National Breast Cancer Foundation is creating awareness this month by giving away a free breast health guide. They also suggest that those who support the cause participate in fundraising activities and use social media networks to spread awareness. The National Breast Cancer Foundation also has several apps that may easily be downloaded.
As October is dedicated to promoting breast cancer awareness, there are many national events that occur during the month. Fundraising activities, television and radio ads and pink ribbons are certain to be seen on a widespread level throughout October. You’ll also see specific events such as the National Race for the Cure, breast cancer walks nationwide, the Susan G. Komen 3 Day “For the Cure” and the Avon 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer throughout October. While there is great focus placed on women’s breast cancer, the third week of October is dedicated to the rare disease of male breast cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer nationwide. Early detection is key and the American Cancer Society recommends that women get mammograms in order to catch breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages. Identifying breast cancer risk factors is also key to improving treatment and hopefully preventing new breast cancer cases.
As women age, their breast cancer risk increases. Certain gene changes ensue and there is little anyone can do to lower age-related breast cancer risks. Some breast cancer cases are genetic and heredity. Again, there is little that can be done to lower the risk of family-related cancers. While there are some risk factors that can’t be changed, there are other scenarios where our lifestyle choices can lower or increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
Being overweight, drinking alcohol in excess, and using oral contraceptives can increase breast cancer risks. It’s important to speak to your health care provider regarding your personal lifestyle choices and to determine whether you might be at risk. Your health care provider can advise you of any changes you should consider making to reduce your breast cancer risk. In addition to having annual mammograms, women should know how to perform self-examinations as well as recognize the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. It isn’t enough to depend on a yearly mammogram. Know how to identify any changes in breast tissue and contact your health care provider immediately with any concerns.
Breast cancer awareness is important as it helps with early detection, but it is also important for those who’ve been diagnosed. Learning you have breast cancer is a scary event and those who find themselves facing the battle need support, resources and to develop an effective strategy. Those diagnosed will need to address their questions and concerns with their health care provider. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have and be persistent until you are satisfied with the answer. Make certain you understand the tests involved, what type of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with and treatment options.
How will you observe National Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Are you going to participate in a walk or run?
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