When you first think of October, many people think orange, the Fall season, cozy sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes. For me, I think pink. October for me is a special month because it is breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is an enemy of mine and for most women around the world. I'm fortunate enough that I haven't been diagnosed; however, close loved ones of mine have been affected by it. October is all about raising awareness about this horrible disease, to raise money for research, prevention and a cure. A cure that would save millions of women around the world and have the opportunity to live life normally cancer-free.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women according to NationalBreastCancer.org. It is the second leading cause of cancer death among women. Each year, it is estimated that over 246,660 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and 1 woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes. Breast cancer research have made a list of known risk factors; however, the scary fact about breast cancer is that 60% to 70% of breast cancer patients have none of those known risk factors. Meaning that anyone can be exposed to this disease without any connection of those risk factors. Many breast cancer organizations gather together to raise funds and create events for supporters and breast cancer patients or survivors to fight for a cure.
What women should be responsible and aware of is to detect early signs of breast cancer. The signs and symptoms include:
A change in how the breast or nipple feel
- Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area.
- A change in the skin texture or an enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast (some describe this as similar to an orange peel’s texture).
- A lump in the breast (It’s important to remember that all lumps should be investigated by a healthcare professional, but not all lumps are cancerous).
A change in the breast or nipple appearance
- Any unexplained change in the size or shape of the breast.
- Dimpling anywhere on the breast.
- Unexplained swelling of the breast (especially if on one side only).
- Unexplained shrinkage of the breast (especially if on one side only).
- Recent asymmetry of the breasts (Although it is common for women to have one breast that is slightly larger than the other, if the onset of asymmetry is recent, it should be checked).
- Nipple that is turned slightly inward or inverted.
- Skin of the breast, areola, or nipple that becomes scaly, red, or swollen or may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange.
Any nipple discharge
- Any clear or bloody discharge.
- Milky discharge should also be checked with a doctor if you're not breastfeeding.
October makes breast cancer awareness special due to the many organizations create fundraisers and events. Organizations such as Susan G. Coleman or The National Race for The Cure create big events across the United States every October.
So what I ask for all to do is raise awareness and prevention for women, get involve with breast cancer awareness organizations and of course wear pink, it's the new orange.