National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in October, and not only should you wear pink this month, but you should also learn what you can do to inform yourself, your friends, and your family about the risk factors and symptoms of breast cancer. It also involves offering assistance to those who have received a medical diagnosis of breast cancer, undergone breast cancer treatment, or lost a loved one to the disease.
Breast Cancer Awareness month aims to equip you with the tools you need to protect yourself, as well as with breast cancer information materials and support services. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and early breast cancer detection is the key to saving lives. Texas Breast Center extends an open invitation to everyone to take part in Breast Cancer Awareness Month and urges women to self-examine their breasts and educate others in their communities about breast cancer prevention and risks.
The Benefits of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is more than just pink ribbons and is significant because it raises money for life saving research into the disease’s causes, treatments, and cure while also raising public awareness of the disease. It educates on the importance of routine breast screening and early detection.
Public education represents one facet of awareness. Campaigns for Breast Cancer Awareness Month assist in educating people about the warning signs and symptoms of the disease as well as preventative measures, such as how to do a self-exam, where to find the right breast cancer screening, and the value of routine mammograms. For those impacted by breast cancer, the month also spotlights cutting-edge, effective procedures and treatments, even those that may not be well-known to the general public.
Raising money for research is one of the other main objectives of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Through various events organized throughout the month, including races, walks, social media campaigns, and others, participants are able to raise more money to fund life-saving research and continue creating innovative treatments that have improved outcomes, lowered the mortality rate over time, and given patients with the disease hope.
Most importantly, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time to honor the breast cancer survivors who battled the disease and to express support and solidarity for those who have been affected by breast cancer.
The growing participation in Breast Cancer Awareness month over the last thirty-plus years has helped increase awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Though it can affect women of any age, women over 50 are most frequently diagnosed with breast cancer. To find any early indicators and increase your chances of receiving successful treatment, it is crucial to regularly examine yourself and have your health assessed by a medical professional.
Every month, you should perform a breast self-exam. Lay down on your back and raise your right arm to conduct a self-exam. Check the entire right breast and armpit region with three fingers on your left hand for lumps, knots, or extra skin thickness. In the shower, you can also carry out this examination by elevating your arm above your head. It is also advised to check your breasts in the mirror to check for any visible symptoms like skin puckering or dimpling.
Self-examinations are helpful, but screening mammograms offered by healthcare providers are crucial for early diagnosis since they can identify breast abnormalities before a lump can be felt, which ultimately saves lives. Women 40 and older should get mammograms every year. Visit with your physician if you have a family history of breast cancer to evaluate the need for increased screening. An annual exam is also advised for women, especially if there is a family history of breast cancer. Routine mammography is one of the most crucial steps you can take to keep your health, prevent disease, and live a healthy life.
Lowering Your Risk
Even though there is no guaranteed way to avoid developing breast cancer, there are steps you can take to potentially lessen your risk. According to the breast cancer research of the American Cancer Society, there are several ways to lessen the risk you will develop breast cancer.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight or Lose Weight if Needed: Breast cancer risk increases after menopause in adults who are overweight or obese. To reach or maintain a healthy weight, maintain a balance between your food intake and physical activity.
- Keep Moving: Low risk of breast cancer risk is connected to moderate to vigorous exercise levels. Include 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise!
- Limit Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol should be avoided or consumed in moderation as it raises the risk of breast cancer. Alcohol consumption, even at low levels, has been associated with an increase in risk. If you chose to drink alcohol, limit your consumption with this in mind.
- Breastfeeding: The majority of research indicates that breastfeeding, particularly if it lasts for a year or more, may indeed reduce the risk of breast cancer.
In addition, taking hormone replacement therapy and some birth control medications (a combined oral contraceptive pill) have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
Support for Breast Cancer Patients
While October is dedicated to raising awareness and preventing breast cancer, it is also a time for charities and organizations to promote the support services they offer to breast cancer patients and survivors. Pick your favorite non-profit organization or breast cancer foundation and make a financial donation to help further the work they are doing for Breast Cancer research and support. In addition to supporting a 501(c)(3) organization financially, you can also provide support to patients facing breast cancer.
There are numerous ways in which you can assist and support someone who has received a cancer diagnosis. Start by being there and providing a listening ear. Consider leaving a supportive note on someone’s CaringBridge page. Think about the assistance that a cancer patient’s family could find useful. You can either bring food or work with others to put together a group to provide food. You can send a note, leave your favorite book, or make a movie recommendation. Keeping in touch and showing support can mean the world to someone.
The success rates of breast cancer treatment continue to rise along with the amount of research being done. We recognize that a breast cancer diagnosis is personal and can still feel disorienting, despite advances in research. Texas Breast Center is dedicated to supporting you at every turn. Through a specialized, tailored treatment plan and ongoing support after your initial treatments, the team wants to establish a connection with you and give you hope.
Breast surgery expert Valerie J. Gorman, MD, FACS, focuses on surgical oncology and surgical diseases of the breast. You will have access to a wide range of treatment choices, including hormone therapy, while under her care, as well as a regimen of care tailored to your particular breast cancer.
Our goal is for each of our patients to go from being a breast cancer patient to a breast cancer survivor. Texas Breast Center is dedicated to promoting Breast Cancer Awareness in October and beyond by providing information, support, and more resources as we work together to save lives.