1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime… a diagnosis is given every 2 minutes in this country. Cancer sucks, but through the tireless work of individuals and organizations both big and small… breast cancer awareness has made its way to the forefront. Since 1985, October has been designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month – a time for us as a nation to come together and celebrate life, reaffirm our dedication to finding a cure, and educate the masses on the importance of early detection and treatment options.
We’re here to echo some of the message so many groups have worked to compile on all things breast cancer… Please feel free to add to the conversation in our comments section – our goal is to continue the existing conversation on breast cancer in hopes we can motivate people everywhere who may be at risk… screen early, screen often and stay educated!
What is breast cancer?
Seems obvious, it’s cancer in your breast/s – specifically a group of cancer cells forming a malignant tumor in your breasts. Here are some general facts from nationalbreastcancer.org:
- One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
- Each year it is estimated that over 246,660 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
- Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 440 will die each year.
- On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and 1 woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes.
- Over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the United States today.
- According to theWorld Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernization.
What causes breast cancer?
Unfortunately, like many cancers, there’s no absolute way to determine why or how a particular person develops breast cancer. Damage to a cell’s DNA is what mutates the cell, causing it to develop as cancer – but doctors are still unable to determine which factors play into causing that damage. Also, while it may be a good idea to get routine check-ups if breast cancer seems to run in the family… that doesn’t mean you can’t get it if your family never had it. If you have breasts, you can get breast cancer.
Seemingly one of the strongest messages carried by advocacy groups is the importance of regular screenings for early detection. Your strongest chance at beating cancer starts by catching it early. Most doctors recommend doing a self-exam each month to familiarize yourself with the “regular” look and feel of your breasts. Any changes should be brought to your doctor’s attention immediately. Some symptoms and signs of breast cancer include:
- A lump in your breast
- Change in breast or nipple appearance – texture in the skin, size change, or unexplained irritation of any kind
- Pain, swelling or tenderness of any kind
- Nipple discharge not associated with breast feeding
Good News About Breast Cancer Trends
- In recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part due to better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment
How can you help?
The American Cancer Society offers fantastic resources to discover ways you and your family can help on both a local and national level. Whether you donate online, organize a local event, give to a family in need or volunteer at your local hospital… you can make a big difference in the daily lives of those battling cancer.
During October (and year round) you’ll see Window Genie’s field technicians sporting our custom pink ribbon branded gear – our way of promoting the message so many local and national organizations work to share. We hope we can motivate and encourage those at risk to learn more about breast cancer – what are the warning signs, how to detect and treat this disease… and how to give back to those currently battling. Please share your stories below – the more we know, the better we all are!