October is nearing its end, and people from all over the world have once again been taking part in various challenge events to help fight against breast cancer. Breast Cancer Awareness Month gives us the opportunity to help the cause and to increase our awareness of this devastating disease. It’s not just about raising funds, it’s about helping women and men feel more empowered through self-education; such as understanding the importance of early detection, diagnosis, and available treatment.
While Breast Cancer Awareness Day is on the 31st of every October, it’s an ongoing campaign that starts at the beginning of the month. During this time, you will see floods of pink ribbons and different attire with inspirational quotes to help rally the fight against this disease.
Why Breast Cancer Awareness Month is so Important
The fight against breast cancer has been going on for many years, yet the statistics are still very sobering. According to Nationalbreastcancer.org, which have gathered their data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization:
- One of every eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.
- The most commonly diagnosed cancer in women is breast cancer.
- The second leading cause of cancer death among women is breast cancer.
- Just under 253,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States.
- Out of the 253,000 women that are diagnosed, around 40,500 will pass away.
Breast cancer doesn’t affect women only. Because this disease is very rare in men, it is often overlooked. According to Nationalbreastcancer.org, it is estimated that breast cancer will be diagnosed in roughly 2470 men, out of which close to 460 will pass away every year.
There Is Some Light at the End of the Tunnel
There has been a gradual decrease in breast cancer incidences in women aged 50 years and older. One possible reason could be due to the decline of hormone replacement therapy that had normally been prescribed after menopause. There has also been a decline in death rates from breast cancer, starting from 1990 until today. This decline has been partly due to an increased awareness of the disease which has been achieved through early detection by using more effective screening methods.
There are more and greatly improved treatment options available now as well. It is this type of positive information that has fueled the strong momentum of Breast Cancer Awareness Month over the years and is a reason why we must continue to take it more seriously.
While breast cancer can’t currently be prevented, there are ways to help increase the chances of fighting the disease before it spreads to other areas of the body. This is done through early detection, which is implemented in three steps:
- By being aware of any potential symptoms.
- Carrying out a self-exam once a month.
- Getting a mammogram and clinical exam on a regular basis.
In the early stages, many breast cancer symptoms are not visible and can only be noticed through professional screening. However, through self-examination, it’s easier to identify certain changes in the breasts, and when combining this type of examination with an annual clinical breast exam, early detection becomes far more possible. This allows for more effective and less radical treatments to prevent cancer from spreading.
If you or someone close to you is battling with breast cancer and looking for support, then please visit the following URLS:
- http://community.breastcancer.org (a direct link to their forums)
- www.youngsurvival.org (catered more towards people under the age of 41)
There is a lot that you can do during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Whether you take part in runs, walks or any other challenge events to help raise funds, you will be doing your part in keeping the forward momentum strong. Many resources are available online to provide you with a long list of challenge events, and a great place to start with can be found on the following website. Here, you will be able to find information on events that are near your area as well as ways in which you could be a fundraiser for the cause. With companies around the nation who support the movement, like this one, we can all come together and raise public awareness together.