U.S. Breast Cancer Awareness Month


October is often associated with pumpkins, witches, and ghosts, but many of the men and women whose lives have been changed by breast cancer associate October with the color pink. Car decals, t-shirts, ribbon pins, and even hair colors change to raise awareness of this disease that impacts so many. But rather than just wear pink, aren’t there things that can be done to help those in need?

Yes, yes there are. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. is responsible for the annual campaign created to gain awareness of breast cancer and houses website to offer information on how to help others and yourself  http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month . From hosting an in-person or virtual fundraiser to sharing educational materials on social media, there is a plethora of information denoting how to get involved.

They also offer a free breast health guide on the website as part of their mission to help individuals impacted by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services.

Breast cancer affects both men and women, though women are more commonly the victims of this disease than men. In fact, an estimated 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women during the year 2017 will be breast cancer. The statistics show how important self-screens and annual mammograms are in the preventative and early detection portions of conquering breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society provides helpful tips for preparing for an annual mammogram on their website for both newbies and mammogram vets https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/mammograms/mammograms-what-to-know-before-you-go.html . They recommend using the same facility each year to make comparing old exams with new ones easier. It is also recommended to not wear deodorant on the day of the exam as some show up as white spots in the x-rays, and ACS suggests scheduling mammograms for times when breasts are not tender or swollen. In other words, avoid the week prior to a period.

Many sites and organizations offer tips and tricks for self-exams, mammograms, and dealing with the diagnosis of breast cancer. There is much more to Breast Cancer Awareness month than wearing pink. It’s a time to ask questions and educate yourself and others. The better informed, the better the chances of beating or appropriately dealing with breast cancer diagnosis.

So, your challenge this year is to not just wear pink but to get involved on a local or national level by educating yourself and sharing what you learn with the men and women in your life.