“On Friday, we wear it pink!” Breast cancer awareness has officially kicked off this month and almost everyone every inspiring woman worldwide is waving the pink banner in honor of Breast cancer survivors and of the ones who are still fighting for it.
Does the phrase “wear it pink” sound anything familiar to you? This Friday of October 23rd everyone is in it to participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But what is it about this month and why people are supporting this movement?
If there’s one thing we know about Breast Cancer, that is it doesn’t stop for anything. This year, around 50,000 women and 370 men in the US will hear the words ‘it’s breast cancer’, and around 10% of those women and 4% of those men will die from it.
But the question remains, why do we wear it pink, and how does the pink ribbon take such a big role in celebrating breast cancer awareness?
In today’s blog, let’s learn about Breast cancer and why every October, we wear it pink.
What is Breast Cancer and Why We Wear it Pink
With the numbers of women dying from Breast cancer yearly, it has immensely affected a lot of women in the household for years. The pink ribbon is a strong symbol of breast cancer awareness and the fight to find a cure against the disease. It is used all around the globe, bringing emphasis to the cause across countries, cultures, and languages.
When you consider the emotional and mental effect that pink has it’s quite understandable why it was chosen to be the color of breast cancer awareness. It wasn’t simply because of the color’s feminine association, though that is a factor. Margaret Welch, the Director of the Color Association of the United States, notes that studies have found that pink is thought to be:
Not only that it’s a symbol of women and medical experts coming together, but it’s also a powerful movement that aims to change the future of breast cancer — a future that brings hope and eradicates fear among women.
With every bit of pink we wear, we’re making that future possible. Whether be it you are a man, a woman, or a medical professional, everyone can participate in this “wear it pink” movement.
Every year Breast Cancer Awareness Month does something great – help make life-saving research and life-changing care possible.
Now, to truly understand the depth of breast cancer, let’s talk a look at the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is rare in women in their 20s or 30s, accounting for less than 5 percent of all cases, but it’s the most common cancer for women in this age group. However, younger women with breast cancer experience unique challenges.
For women under 40, breast cancer is often diagnosed in its later stages, when it tends to be more aggressive. This means the survival rate is lower and the recurrence rate is higher.
So how do you know whether you have, or a woman in your family, has breast cancer? Here are the common early signs and symptoms.
- Skin changes. Such as swelling, redness, or other visible differences in one or both breasts.
- An increase in size or change in the shape of the breast(s).
- Changes in the appearance of one or both nipples.
- Nipple discharge.
- General pain in/on any part of the breast.
- Lumps or nodes felt on or inside of the breast.
- Changes in touch (may feel hard, tender, or warm).
- Irritated or itchy breasts.
Male breast cancer symptoms can also be similar to those experienced by women, and these may include:
- Lumps in the breast, usually painless.
- Thickening of the breast.
- Changes to the nipple or breast skin, such as dimpling, puckering, or redness.
- Discharge of fluid from the nipples.
Breast cancer typically has no symptoms which is why screening is important for early detection. Take note of these symptoms and changes in the breast, until then, make sure to seek evaluation and checkup with your trusted doctor or specialist.
Facts and Statistics Associated with Breast Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society Inc, in 2019, there’s an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed among women. Approximately 2,670 cases are in men. And there are also approximately 41,760n women and 500 men expected to have died from breast cancer in the 2019 survey.
Other facts and statistics on Breast Cancer that you should take note of include:
- 99% of breast cancer occur in women.
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
- A woman’s risk for developing breast cancer increases as she gets older.
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2021, it's estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
- A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
- About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.
- The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are sex (being a woman) and age (growing older).
How to Diagnose Breast Cancer
Now, how do we diagnose a prospective patient with breast cancer?
Breast cancer stages range from 0 to IV with 0 indicating cancer that is noninvasive or contained within the milk ducts. Stage IV breast cancer, also called metastatic breast cancer, indicates cancer that has spread to other areas of the body.
There are a couple of tests and procedures used to diagnose breast cancer. These includes:
- Breast exam. The doctor will do a checkup to examine your breast and lymph nodes in your armpit to see possible abnormalities.
- Mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. It’s commonly used to screen for breast cancer, it detects abnormalities so we can fully recommend a diagnostic to further evaluate the abnormality.
- Ultrasound. This uses sound waves to produce images and structures deep within the breast. It’s used to determine whether a new breast lump is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.
- Breast Biopsy. A biopsy removing a sample of breast cells for testing. This is a definitive way to make a diagnosis of breast cancer. We use a specialized needle device guided by X-ray to extract tissue from the suspicious area.
- Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI machine uses a magnet and radio waves to create pictures of the interior of your breast.
Breast Cancer Treatment
This is where the movement about Breast Cancer Awareness brings light to the future of Breast Cancer, it brings forth a future of possible treatment for victims and survivors.
You should know that Breast cancer is treated in several ways. It depends on the kind of breast cancer and how far it has spread. People with breast cancer often get more than one kind of treatment.
Breast cancer treatment includes:
- Surgery. An operation where we cut out cancer tissue.
- Chemotherapy. Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer cells. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.
- Hormonal therapy. Blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.
- Biological therapy. Works with your body’s immune system to help it fight cancer cells or to control side effects from other cancer treatments.
- Radiation therapy. Using high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer cells.
Choosing the treatment that is right for you may be hard. Talk to your cancer doctor about the treatment options available for your type and stage of cancer.
How Can We Help?
Awareness surrounding breast cancer is incredibly crucial as detection. This October, you will likely see a wealth of information about breast cancer, take your heart at it and participate in this powerful community-binding movement. Let’s take part in changing the future of breast cancer together.
For more information on Breast Cancer Awareness, join me in my breast cancer activity this month.
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What Is Wear It Pink Day and How Can I Join?
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month: On Fridays we wear pink
- 10 Surprising Facst About Breast Cancer
- Facts About Breast Cancer In The United States
- What are the Signs of Breast Cancer