Breast Cancer has never been an easy topic for me to write about or talk about for that matter. As far as I can remember, the images of women in the fight have always been difficult for me to digest. They are vivid, and without captions, tell an obvious story. Debilitating treatments and extreme fatigue. Weight loss and hair loss. Scars where breasts once were. Women who may be leaving behind loved ones with only memories to hold. But the pink ribbons on display throughout the month of October tell a different story. They tells the story of dedicated advocates, medical researchers, and the women who are in the fight, lost the fight, and lived to give hope to others.
Decades of medical and scientific research has led to the development of breakthrough treatment options and steps toward a much-anticipated cure. But the truth remains that all women are at risk for breast cancer with that risk increasing with age. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and the average woman has a 12-13% risk of developing breast cancer at one point in their lives.
Although rare, breast cancer actually affects men as well. According to BreastCancer.org, about 2,650 men are projected to be diagnosed and about 530 are expected to pass from the disease. Their cases account for less than 1% of total diagnoses but are no less important. Organizations such as Out of the Shadow of Pink, The Brandon Greening Foundation, and A Man’s Pink, are long standing advocates and support for male breast cancer. Through their united efforts, the third week of October was officially established as Male Breast Cancer Awareness week.
As with all diseases and conditions, early detection is the best prevention. In other words, the sooner you and your doctor can detect any potential signs of breast cancer, the greater the chance to decrease or eliminate the risks. Annual mammograms are recommended for women 40 years and older. For those whose medical insurance doesn’t cover the exams fully, many hospitals, organizations, and pre-funded programs offer mammograms to women at a reduced rate.
Breast self-exams are recommended for all women and can be done daily in the convenience of your own home. For some, the thought of checking for a life changing disease can be overwhelming. For others, it may feel like a chore or exercise, something else to add to your already busy day. We encourage you to look at it as an opportunity to care for your body. This quick self-exam can be seamlessly incorporated into your daytime or nighttime beauty routine.
This month let’s pin on our pink ribbons to celebrate life together. Don’t be discouraged because there is still so much to live for. Don’t be ashamed of the scars or hair loss. They are badges of honor and proof of your unrelenting strength. Whether you’re marching in awareness or mourning a loss, just remember that we’re fighting this fight together. And in the end, we will win.
Contributing Author: Esther Sully is a freelance editor and copywriter who has worked with different brands over the years to help bring their vision to life through engaging, creative, and original written content. Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, she now resides in the Midwest where she enjoys time with her family, reading a good book, and a daily cup of dark roast coffee.