The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes. Innovations in research, surgical options and clinical trials give women many more options. With early detection, a woman’s survival rate goes up. That’s why breast self exams are an important way for women to give their “girls” a fighting chance, especially during Breast Cancer Awareness Month..
Breast Cancer Awareness Month - History
Praise for immunotherapy
Immunotherapy completely regressed breast cancer in a patient who had a form of the disease resistant to other kinds of treatment.
Drug reduced risk for post-menopausal women
The drug, Raloxifene, minimized the risk of developing breast cancer in women who have already passed through menopause.
Tamoxifen—a breakthrough cancer drug
Tamoxifen cut the breast cancer risk for some women by as much as half.
Lumpectomy vs. mastectomy
Researchers discovered that early-stage breast cancer patients had comparable survival rates whether treated with a lumpectomy and radiation — or a mastectomy.
Improvement in mastectomy surgeries
A new procedure was found to be more effective and not as disfiguring as past ones.
How to Observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month
1. Share a story
Cancer survivors, family members, caregivers and medical professionals have a chance to share their perspectives on how cancer impacts their lives. Do an online search of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and you'll discover various organizations that have links to social media blogs, video platforms and more. Upload your story and feel proud that you are one more voice of victory against this disease.
2. Think pink
Pink is the color du jour for October's campaign. Some people change their website's background colors to pink for the month. Others rummage through their closets and pull out pink everything — sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves, entire outfits — even wigs! Many workplaces hold Pink Days to encourage coworkers to get involved in the fight against breast cancer.
3. Raise some money
October is the primary fundraising month for Breast Cancer Awareness and whatever you give is appreciated. Hold a raffle, coordinate a talent show or simply write a check. It all helps to fund life-saving cancer research. Large corporations use October to make mega-sized donations. On the smaller scale, fill up a dozen pink piggy banks and make your donation.
Five Reasons Why October Is The Pinkest Month
1. Breast cancer doesn't discriminate
Although breast cancer is more prevalent among American white women, African-American women tend to die from the disease more often.
2. Breast cancer can baffle scientists
Scientists don't really understand why the left breast seems to develop cancer more often than the right breast.
3. Breast cancer surgery was a trailblazer
The very first operation to use anesthesia to deaden pain was a breast cancer surgery.
4. Men get it, too
Overall, only one percent of American males are diagnosed with breast cancer, but African-American men just like women in their community, are more prone to die from the disease.
5. Breast cancer—the nuns' disease
At one time, breast cancer was called "the nuns' disease" because it seemed to afflict more nuns than women in the general population.
Why Breast Cancer Awareness Month is Important
A. It promotes self-care
Breast Cancer Awareness Month reminds women (and men ) that monthly breast cancer exams should be a regular part of one's self care. If you have never performed a self-exam, ask your doctor or nurse practitioner to guide you through. Look for changes within and surrounding your breast including dimpling, redness, scaliness or nipple discharge. Granted, some breasts are a little more "lumpy" than others but changes in size or in the tissue should send up a red alert to make an appointment to see your physician.
B. It focuses on treatment
There are several different types of breast cancer. Treatment options depend on various patient factors: the stage and specific type of cancer, age and overall health at the time of diagnosis, and the patient's personal and family history. After the diagnosis, a patient should consult with family to choose a physician who can go over treatment options like surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and radiation,
C. It shouts the good news
The National Cancer Institute recently declared that the U.S. cancer rate fell for diagnosed women between 2006-2015. Also, the FDA approved an at-home genetic testing kit for women to assess whether they carry any of the three gene mutations associated with breast cancer. Oncoplastic surgery, another positive option, is a surgical "two-fer" allowing the removal of cancerous breast tissue immediately followed by the re-sculpting of the breast's remaining tissue, restoring symmetry and a more natural appearance.