By Kelly Tansor, Copy Editor (email@example.com)
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and affects 1 in 8 women. Nearly everyone knows someone affected with the disease, so it only seems right to bring up some facts about the disease.
With breast cancer becoming very common among women, everyone is trying to find an explanation. I hear some odd myths about what increases your risk of breast cancer – wearing an underwire bra, putting your cell phone in your bra, wearing deodorant, having bigger breasts, having someone in your family who has had breast cancer, etc. Almost all of these are untrue because nearly everyone – men and women –is at risk for breast cancer no matter what kind of bra they wear, where they put their cell phone, etc. Sadly, not much is known about what causes breast cancer, and even less is known about how to reduce the risk of having breast cancer.
The best thing you can do is know your family history of the disease, do frequent self-checks for a lump on your breast, and have a mammogram done early and often. Most women should start getting a mammogram when they are 40, but women who have breast cancer in their families should start when they are 30. Some research suggests women should not have a mammogram until they are 50-years-old. DO NOT TAKE THIS ADVICE! In a recent study of breast cancer deaths, more than half of the people studied never had a mammogram prior to being diagnosed, and the majority of those women were under the age of 50. Also, on a more personal note, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 46. Luckily, thanks to her annual mammogram, doctors found the cancer early enough where she was able to have a mastectomy and get rid of the cancer without any problems. Best of all, she did not even need chemotherapy and radiation. If she had waited until she was 50-years-old to get a mammogram, things could have ended a lot differently.
It is important that everyone – men and women alike – can identify the symptoms of breast cancer. These include a lump, a change in the size or contour of the breast, fluid coming from the nipple, a change in the feel or appearance of the breast or nipple, a change in the position of the nipple, and having an area distinct from any other area on the either breast. The more we know about breast cancer, the more likely we are to save a life – a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, even a daughter.
For more information as well as places you can donate to, you can go to the following Web sites and organizations: