October may seem like everything revolves around Halloween, but it is also the month of increasing awareness about a major disease. Breast Cancer Awareness Month, recognized in different countries worldwide, is a health campaign organized by well-supported breast cancer charities who bring awareness and raise funds for scientific research towards proper diagnostics and treatments. From medical professionals to the average person, many are not educated on the causes, signs, and early detection of breast cancer. Ultimately, this raises the chances of permanent damage and/or death to occur; however, there are several ways to spread awareness and detect the early signs of breast cancer.
Here is some helpful information so you can get informed:
How can we detect signs of breast cancer from home?
For many of those affected, breast cancer seemed to sneak up on them without any symptoms or signs. However, there are several ways that you can detect the development of breast cancer: regularly seeing your doctor and actively checking the conditions of your breasts. These steps should be done on a monthly basis:
- Touch your breast.
Do you feel any sort of lumps in the breast, upper chest, or armpit? If the lump is not visible, but you can still feel it, that is okay not all lumps are a sign of cancer. Keep track of any changes to your breasts, and monitor if lumps are getting larger. Staying familiar with how your breasts usually feel is always a best practice in detecting breast cancer.
- Stand in front of a mirror and look for any changes.
Do you see any changes in shape or size? Is the skin texture puckering or showings a dimple effect? Is there any nipple discharge? Has the color of the breast changed in color; if so, is it red? Do you see a rust or crust around the nipple? If you said yes to any of the questions, it is highly recommended that you make an appointment with your doctor.
How can we promote and support?
It does not matter what age or gender you are, we should all be acquainted with this issue because we all know someone who could be affected. Here are several ways you can promote and support breast cancer:
- Wear pink.
Pink has been deemed the color of breast cancer awareness, with many campaigns using the color to show their support. Select any day or week in October to wear pink to symbolize that you support the cause and encourage life-saving research. You can also purchase pink merchandise from several different stores and organizations, whose proceeds go to funding breast cancer initiatives.
- Donate your hair.
When treating breast cancer with chemotherapy, many patients experience hair loss. This is one of the hardest insecurities that women and men face, so donating your hair to an organization like Locks of Love is a simple way to brighten up someone’s day.
- Join a fundraising walk, parade, or run.
These physical activities are popular community-driven ways to spread awareness for breast cancer. While advocating for the cure to an issue that has greatly impacted peoples lives, you’re also benefiting your own health!
This month, join the journey in funding research for breast cancer and make it known that it is something everyone should be aware of! For more information on ways to show support, check out the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s page on how you can help and remember to #WearPink!
by Marianna Chavez-Kelly