Updated: Oct 19, 2022
What we don’t know scares us. The wrong information we face on the internet every day scares us even more. That is why there is a breast cancer awareness month. Every year in October experts share information on breast cancer, survivors and patients share their stories to raise awareness. Also, they are using this chance to raise money for more research on breast cancer.
Here is your chance to learn everything you need to know about breast cancer and breast cancer awareness month.
What is breast cancer?
The most common type of cancer seen in women is breast cancer. As they grow older, the risk for it increases. There is a 13% chance that a woman will have breast cancer in her lifetime. So how it occurs is information every woman should know. Breast cancer happens in your breast tissue. Breast cells mutate and turn into tumors. These tumors can spread to the tissue surrounding your breast, just like other types of cancer. Additionally, they can metastasize and might spread to other areas of your body. It develops new tumors.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
Early diagnosis is the key to increasing your fighting chance of cancer. Therefore, you should be mindful of the lumps in your breasts. Even though they are the first symptom of breast cancer they don’t have to be cancerous. If you have found a lump and you see these symptoms, we recommend you see a doctor:
Differences in the nipple such as redness, itchiness, or change in shape
Fluid coming out of your nipple
An area that feels different than the rest of the breast
A change in shape and size of the breast
A lump near your breasts or under your arm
These symptoms can be hard to catch without self-breast exams and mammograms. Unfortunately, mammograms may not be accessible to everyone, thus you must do your self-exams monthly. You may feel lost doing these self - exams especially If it is your first time. In that case, Triwi can be your guide. Triwi smart bra is designed to navigate you during these exams and keeps a track of these results.
Who is at risk for developing breast cancer?
There are multiple risk factors for breast cancer. We can analyze these factors in two categories: controllable and uncontrollable. The uncontrollable ones are gender, family history, genetics, and age. The controllable ones are lifestyle factors. While they don’t always guarantee a diagnosis it would be best to talk to your doctor If you qualify for two or more.
Gender: The first risk factor is being a woman. Contrary to popular belief men can also have breast cancer but while only 1% of men get diagnosed with it, this percentage is much higher in women.
Age: As you grow older your risk of breast cancer increases. While invasive breast cancer affects about 1 in 8 women under the age of 45 this ratio increases to 2 out of 3 cases for women over the age of 55.
Personal/family history: You should be mindful of your own cancer history as well as your family’s cancer history. Developing cancer in one breast increases the risk of getting cancer in the other breast. Also, If a female relative such as your mother or daughter had breast cancer you are most likely to have it as well. On the other hand, the majority of women get diagnosed without any family history of breast cancer.
Genetics: Breast cancer can be inherited, what causes this is mutations in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. While they increase the risk of all cancers it doesn’t guarantee cancer If you inherited these genes.
Lifestyle factors: Obesity, alcohol consumption, birth control pills, childbirth, and smoking are all factors that increase your chance of getting breast cancer.
When is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
For the last 90 years, October is known as “Pink Month”. It became a time to educate women and celebrate breast cancer survivors. In 1985 American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries collaborated on this month to raise awareness on breast cancer, diagnosis, and fund research for breast cancer.
The pink ribbon has always been the symbol of breast cancer awareness, but Estée Lauder made it widely known in 1992. 1.5 million pink ribbons were handed out as a part of their campaign. Today the color pink alone is enough to represent this cause. This month pull all your pink clothes out of your closet and wear them to spread the message. Breast Cancer Awareness is crucial.
How can I get involved in breast cancer awareness?
Breast Cancer Awareness Week’s mission is to educate you but at the same time, it tries to get you to take action. This action could be lifestyle changes or to move you to help others. This month there are multiple things you could do to raise awareness, and help current and future breast cancer patients.
Donate to a breast cancer awareness charity
Cancer is an expensive disease. Not only for the patients but for researchers as well. More research with better funding can create alternative ways for preventing cancer. Also, with every research, they get one step closer to finding a cure for breast cancer.
Attend a breast cancer awareness event
Breast cancer awareness events are a great way to get involved in the fight against breast cancer. It is also a great opportunity to learn more about breast cancer and its prevention. Many women who had cancer or have a family history of cancer attends these events. While attending you will have the chance to hear and learn from their stories. If you are or were a cancer patient, you can get connected to people who have a similar story. The support you will get from people who understand your circumstances will be like no other.
Breast cancer awareness events are not only educational, but they are important for funding as well. These events can direct you to research organizations or patients that you can donate to.
Purchase breast cancer awareness merchandise
An alternative to donation is buying merchandise. A percentage of the profit from this merchandise goes to breast cancer patients or research. At the end of the day, you will have a pink product to remember what you are fighting for, and you will support this great cause.
Spread the word about breast cancer awareness on social media
We spend a large amount of time every day on social media. Reading funny tweets and looking at our friends’ stories on Instagram have become a part of our daily routine. What If we told you could use social media to spread breast cancer awareness? Use your voice to spread the word. You can share useful information about breast cancer, share posts about fundraisers, and use hashtags to increase exposure. Most importantly spread hope.
What can be done to prevent breast cancer?
You cannot change your DNA, you cannot change your family history but still, there are many things in your life you can control. With these changes and being mindful of breast cancer symptoms you too can prevent breast cancer. At the very least you can catch the signs early and get treated before it spreads.
Early detection of breast cancer
Early detection of breast cancer saves lives. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the survival rate is 99% when breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage. To detect it early you must know about the symptoms, do regular self-breast exams and get mammograms.
Breast cancer deaths occur more often in low- and middle-income families due to a lack of awareness and barriers to health services.
Lifestyle changes to prevent breast cancer
It is possible to lower your risk of getting breast cancer with three lifestyle changes: Maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, and exercising regularly. These three key points don’t only help you with breast cancer. Healthy eating, exercise, and low alcohol intake can lead you to overall healthy life.
Medical treatments to prevent breast cancer
Right now, the study of medicine is not advanced enough to prevent breast cancer. Although research is being done, we cannot give you specific medical treatment for it. However, there are ways to lower the risk and detect breast cancer early.
Mammograms use x-rays to see lumps in your breasts. Unfortunately, it can be scary, and you might feel embarrassed by getting them. Don’t forget that they are important for your breast health. This procedure takes 30 minutes, but it can add years to your life. Another thing you should keep in mind is that taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills can lead to breast cancer. Ask your doctor about the risks of those treatments before using them. Lastly breastfeeding your children reduces the risk of developing breast cancer later in life.