For nearly four decades now, the United States has recognized October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time annually devoted to educating everyone about breast cancer—including metastatic breast cancer (MBC)—and the importance of early detection and timely, high-quality care. This is an annual campaign to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer. This campaign seeks to provide education, empowerment, action, community, and hope.
Why is this important?
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime – that is ONE person every 12 minutes in the United States alone. The two greatest risk factors are being female and aging.
What can you do?
- Knowing your risk and family history can be lifesaving. START TODAY by talking with your family and your doctor. Work with your doctor to develop a plan to monitor for signs of the disease.
- Get screened! For those at average risk, age 40 is typically the time to begin routine mammograms. If you have a gene mutation or are at higher risk, you may decide to start earlier. Check your insurance coverage to determine your options.
- Perform self-exams. You know YOU! Know your normal and what feels normal to you. If something doesn’t feel right, contact your doctor, and get screened.
- Make healthy choices. The only thing you can control outside of getting screened regularly is your ability to make healthy choices for yourself. Maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, and exercising regularly are all choices you can make that have been proven to help prevent breast cancer and other cancers.
- Need help? You should always feel as though you can have an honest and confidential conversation with your doctor and other healthcare providers, but you also have a village of women and experts at your fingertips with the Komen Breast Care Helpline.
“I am not at risk. How can I help?”
- Love the women in your life! Whether it’s your wife, sister, daughter, friend, colleague, or a stranger, being there for a woman when she starts the regular screening process (it’s not comfortable and quite exhausting) or when she receives news that she needs a biopsy, is HUGE. Listening is the best gift you can give to someone in any situation in life.
- Don’t be afraid to tell your colleagues, “It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I’m here to remind you to self-screen and schedule your mammogram!” You don’t need to dive into their personal health background, but you can be supportive.
- Continue to advocate for breast cancer awareness and preventive care. Support the fundraising walks and events near you.
Finally, early detection and treatment are critical to reducing breast cancer deaths. We care about YOU and your health, and we hope you’ll take time this month to self-screen and share your knowledge with others.
Guest Author: Jenny Guzman