October: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Autumn has arrived and when most people think of October, they think of pumpkins, the leaves changing, haunted attractions, and Halloween. However, October is special for another reason: it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an international health campaign that occurs throughout October. Its purpose is to increase the world’s awareness of breast cancer. Many organizations, government agencies, and medical societies join together to make people aware of this cancer.

Although many people have heard of breast cancer, they may not know what it is and how it occurs. Here are many facts that will give you a better understanding of this disease:

* Breast cancer forms when malignant cells form in the breast tissues.

* One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

* The second leading cause of death among women is breast cancer.

* Approximately 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die each year.

* Men usually have a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola.

* Men should give themselves breast self-exams similar to women’s self-exams.

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-facts

Early detection is key to getting rid of the disease before it spreads. Once a month, women should perform a self-exam. Johns Hopkins Medical center says, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” The link provided will show how to perform self-examinations.

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-symptoms-and-signs

Mammograms are another way to be examined for cancer. It is a form of x-ray that can detect cancer before the lump can be felt. Micro-calcifications, small clusters of c

alcium, can also be shown by mammograms. Women 40 and older should get mammograms every one to two years, and woman under 40 should talk to their doctor about how often they should get them. Many women are scared to get mammograms because it’s personal, and they believe it will hurt. Contrary to belief, it’s said that it barely hurts. Although it can be a personal and uncomfortable procedure, remember that it can save lives.

Some healthy habits to help reduce the risk of breast cancer are to:

* Keep a healthy weight

* Be active

* Maintain a healthy diet

* Limit alcohol intake

* Keep away from drugs and smoking

There are many ways to donate and raise awareness of breast cancer. Donations can be made to the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Organization, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, National Breast Cancer Foundation, and many more. Events, such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks held by the American Cancer Society, raise thousands of dollars. Of course, there are local events, too. The best way to find events or charities to donate to is to research online.

Relay for Life is just one of many walk to raise awareness.
Relay for Life is just one of many walks to raise awareness.

October shouldn’t be the only month that makes people aware of breast cancer. Every day of the year, everyone should be aware. Always take any symptoms or lumps seriously, no matter the age or gender. So, amongst plans of pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating this October, take time to raise awareness of breast cancer and donate.

To find out more go to: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/about-breast-cancer

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