Breast cancer awareness month and its Importance
Are you aware that one out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and at least one woman dies every 13 minutes due to this terrible disease?
It sounds shocking, but these numbers are very real. They're a reality we may all face in our lives if we haven’t already. The breasts are an area where there's a high risk for cancer. In the USA, Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. Not to mention that it can affect males too; although the ratio among women is drastically higher. Women of all ages are at risk. Statistics show that the chance of getting affected by breast cancer grows with age, as 24% of breast cancer in the US is found in women aged 70-80 years old. And the number of breast cancer rises annually as the population of America increases.
Current year estimates for breast cancer:
In 2021, the American Cancer Society estimates that breast cancer will be a major epidemic in America. The predictions are as follows:
- There will be 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women.
- There will be 49,290 new cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
- And approximately 43,600 women will die of breast cancer.
October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness month and the best time to learn more about this terrifying disease. The purpose of this month is to highlight how knowledge brings power: You have control over whether or not something enters into your life as well as being able to explore different treatment methods available while also taking care of loved ones around us who may develop these cancers down the road too.
Along with learning about breast cancer, you must also think of what you can do to help and spread awareness of the same. With proper knowledge, you can help a lot.
In this article, we'll discuss everything that spreads awareness and help you fight this devastating disease- Breast Cancer.
What is Breast Cancer?
Usually, cells divide and grow in the body when you need new cells to function, but when cells start growing uncontrollably, forming abnormal tumors and don't function like the body's normal cells, the tumor is called malignant or Cancerous. If the tumor grows in the breast, it is called breast cancer. Breast cancer can occur in any of the following three main parts:
1. Lobules: The lobules are the glands that give rise to milk.
2. Ducts: The ducts are the tube that carries and takes the milk to the nipple.
3. Connective Tissue: This part consists of fibrous and fatty tissues. It surrounds and holds everything together.
Usually, breast cancer develops in the ducts and lobules. It can spread in the outer part of the breast through lymph vessels and blood vessels. If breast cancer spreads out to the other body parts, it is known as metastasized. The most common types of breast cancers are Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Invasive Lobular Carcinoma, and Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS).
What causes breast cancer?
It is difficult to know what causes breast cancer, but we do know that certain factors may put you at higher risk for developing it. These include a woman's age and genetic makeup as well as family history (genetic), personal health history like diet or exercise habits- all these things play some part in whether someone will eventually get one.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
The most common sign that you may have breast cancer is the development of a new mass or lump in your breast region. However, there are other warning signs/symptoms that you can notice or check from time to time to ensure you don't develop one. Those are as follows:
- Swelling in all or a certain part of the breast even if no lump can be felt.
- Dimpling skin, perhaps like an orange peel
- Pain in the nipple or the breast
- Nipple retraction
- Redness in the nipple or breast
- Flaking or thickened breast
- Abnormal discharge other than the milk
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Change in the size, the shape of the breast Risk Factors and Preventions (H2)
- Extreme Alcohol consumption: The chances of breast cancer increases with the amount of alcohol you consume. If a woman consumes two or three alcoholic beverages daily, there is a 20% higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer than a woman who doesn't drink.
- Smoking: Smoking has been the topmost reason for any cancer.
- Bodyweight: Obesity increases the risk factor for breast cancer.
- Breast implants: Silicone breast implants and scar tissue make it hard to differentiate problems on regular mammograms. It is better to have a few more images named implant displacement views to enhance the examination. There is also rare cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) related to the implants.
- Not breastfeeding: Some women choose not to breastfeed concerning their physical appearance and the looks of their breast but not breastfeeding increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Early Menstrual or late Menopause: If a girl gets her menstrual in early-stage such as at the age of 11 or 12, she can have a higher risk of getting affected by breast cancer. Similarly, if a woman experiences late menopause and is not at the usual age of 40s, she can be diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Consumption of hormonal pills: Consumption of birth control pills, oral contraceptives, vaginal rings can cause breast cancer.
Lowering the risk of getting diagnosed with breast cancer can include certain factors like limiting your alcohol consumption, practicing a healthy diet, and being physically active.
Why is Breast Cancer Awareness so Important?
Shedding light on some risky aspects like diseases is always a crucial part of people's life. The more you are aware, the more preventive measures you take.
The primary goal of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) is to promote and spread awareness among people about early detection, which eventually plays a key role in the advanced treatment of breast cancer. Doing so naturally promotes good health and helps people follow a healthy lifestyle and live better and longer.
Annual awareness events can help increase knowledge and remind the target population about what they need to know and what they have to do for the same.
How are organizations, non-profits, and individuals contributing to this cause?
The NGOs, Organizations, and even individuals work very hard to educate and spread awareness about breast cancer. They constantly strive to raise awareness about the severe illness which make treatment accessible for everyone suffering from it and provide support to cancer patients From organizing workshops to conducting online support forums for the patients, the NGOs and other organizations aim to educate people about the cruciality of early breast cancer detection.
Benefits of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness in October is an awareness month that yields promising results, as per the six-year study by the peer-reviewed journal BMC Cancer. The researchers found that online activity, like Google searches associated with breast cancer, increased prominently during October. Moreover, wider awareness can contribute to fundraising efforts for cancer treatment, education, counseling, helping patients, promoting hope, and funding new research. In addition to this, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. has reported an increase in funding almost every year for more than a decade. Apart from donating money to fight the battle against breast cancer, people can find myriad approaches to help the cause, including initiating fundraisers, learning about breast healthcare to pass along valuable information, and using social media to educate family members, friends, colleagues, and other beloved ones.
Impact of the Breast Cancer awareness month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) is applauded to increase public awareness of breast cancer in October. The very first goal of BCAM is to encourage and promote regular breast self-examinations and to screen for early detection of breast cancer at an early stage. This has grown because of the awareness campaigns. It has increased online activity related to breast cancer which is consistently creating engagement and educating people. The annual breast cancer awareness campaign proves its effectiveness and holds helpful lessons for Cancer Awareness Initiatives.
- An age-standardized breast cancer death in developed countries has dropped by 40% between the 1980s and 2020.
- Countries with reduced breast cancer mortality have reduced annual cancer mortality by 2-4% per year.
- If annual deaths due to breast cancer reduction of 2.5% per year occur globally, we can avoid 2.5 million deaths between 2020 and 2040.
The pink ribbons, marches, and campaigns are all part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's a time to celebrate survivors who have had their lives dramatically changed by this disease; it also gives us knowledge on how we can fight back against the devastating aspects that come with a breast cancer diagnosis.