October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every October, millions of people across the country participate in events and show their support to increase awareness of the disease and raise funds for research. According to the American Cancer Society, this year saw 232,570 new cases of invasive breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. While a lot of progress has been made, we still have long way to go to find a cure. Most people are aware of breast cancer, but don’t know how to prevent it, detect it in its early stages, or fight it. That’s why it’s ever so important to raise awareness for breast cancer— not just during the month of October— but all year long.
Here’s how you can raise awareness for breast cancer:
• Participate in an awareness event – Breast cancer events are a great way to fundraise and increase awareness for the disease. There are many awareness events across the country, like the Race for a Cure and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks. Find some events to attend in your community.
• Create an “Early Detection Plan” – Many women forget to take the necessary steps to detect the early stages of breast cancer. Having an early detection plan is proven to be beneficial. According to the National Cancer Institute, the five year survival rate is 98% when breast cancer is detected early on. Develop your own plan and encourage your friends and family to do so as well. Your plan should consist of routinely performing self-breast exams and asking your doctor about the steps you can take to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Be aware of your family history and ask your doctor when and how often you should be screened for breast cancer. Schedule appropriate clinical breast exams and mammograms based on your health, history and age.
• Make a donation – Even the smallest donation can go a long way. Donate to a cancer research foundation like the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the American Cancer Society or the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Donations help these foundations find a cure for the disease as well as provide mammograms, education and support services to women in need. In addition to your donation, educate others about the cause and encourage them to donate as well.
• Support survivors – We often remember the women who have passed away from breast cancer, but we forget to think about all those who have survived. According to the American Cancer Society, there are over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. In addition to all the medical issues a woman must endure, breast cancer patients also endure many physical and emotional scars. Most breast cancer survivors don’t feel comfortable in their own skin after experiencing stress, chemo therapy and a mastectomy. They aren’t satisfied with the reflection staring back at the in the mirror. If you are or know a breast cancer survivor, know the available options. You don’t have to undergo reconstructive surgery after your mastectomy.
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