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Think Pink this Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A guide to Breast Cancer

Ipshita Bagchi

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October marks the beginning of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is observed annually to gather and spread awareness about the disease, its early detection and treatment.

Breast cancer is the most common form of Cancer in women worldwide. In 2018, nearly 2 million new breast cancer cases were diagnosed. Further, according to the American Cancer Society about 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women. Today, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer is about 13%. Meaning that there are 1 out of 8 chances that she will develop the disease.

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month is observed in October, here's everything you need to know about the disease.

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer starts in the cells of the breast as a group of cancer cells that can then invade surrounding tissues or spread to other areas of the body. Breast cancer occurs when malignant tumors develop in the breast. These cells can spread by breaking away from the original tumor and entering blood vessels or lymph vessels, which branch into tissues throughout the body. 

Importance of early detection

Several studies indicate that early detection of Breast cancer can help increase the survival rates of the patients. Thus it is extremely vital to check for the signs and  symptoms of Breast Cancer. 

Fighting Breast Cancer
Concept Illustration : Woman using shield with breast cancer logo for protection against cancer cells.

Early warning signs of Breast Cancer

  • Skin changes, such as swelling, redness, or other visible differences in one or both breasts
  • An increase in size or change in shape of the breast(s)
  • Changes in the appearance of one or both nipples
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • General pain in/on any part of the breast
  • Lumps or nodes felt on or inside of the breast

While these symptoms may not exactly refer to breast cancer, any sort of presentation of the should be reported to the doctor immediately. 

Detecting Breast Cancer

There are multiple ways to help detect breast cancer in women:

  • Self-exams

Women can conduct a self exam at home regularly to check for any abnormalities that may or may not have developed. 

  • Mammograms

A mammogram can show breast lumps up to 2 years before they can be felt. Different tests help determine if a lump may be cancerous or not. Ones that aren’t cancerous tend to have different physical features than the ones that are. Imaging tests such as mammograms and ultrasounds can help see the difference.

  • Breast MRI

This test combines several images of your breast into one to create a detailed picture. It’s more often used after you’re diagnosed to see how far cancer has spread.

What can I do on Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

2020 has been a constant reminder to all of us that we’re in this together. This breast Cancer Awareness Month help generate support and awareness about the disease. There are many things that you alone can do to help the cause:

  • Donate to research initiatives focusing on breast cancer.
  • Help someone out personally- If you know someone who has breast cancer, ;et them know that you are ready to help. It is suggested to offer what you can do to help in order to avoid burdening the patient to ask for help.
  • Conduct discussions in your domestic and work settings and educate those who may be unaware of the problem.
  • Wear pink or a pink bow, to show you’re in support of the cause and stand in solidarity with those affected.
  • Finally, share. Share your own experience. If you have a story that you feel should be heard, don’t hesitate. This will further encourage other people to share their own and also give strength to those who and remind them that they are not alone.

Help support women in need

Fighting Breast Cancer Together

Join the cause and help women in need worldwide. 

Here are multiple platforms or charities that you can donate to this Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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