October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast cancer is of particular importance to me because two of my aunts suffered through the disease and survived it. They were just two of many women who fought for their lives against this sometimes-fatal disease. From a young age I have been aware that my breasts, as lovely as they are, could lead to cancer and I have made it a point to practice self-exams.
As this month represents all the women (and many men) who fight against breast cancer, lose their lives to the disease or survive it, I want to inspire each and every person reading this blog to take action—for themselves and the women around them.
Here are some things that you can do for yourself and for others to make strides against breast cancer.
1. Learn about breast cancer. According to BreastCancer.org, 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. The risk of developing breast cancer increases if you have a first-degree relative who had it and it increases as you age. The development of breast cancer is factored by many things including but not limited to your family history, your lifestyle, environment and reproductive history. Do some research, not just about the disease but also about your family history and how you can lower your risks. BeyondtheShock is a great website to start with.
2. Breast exams and mammograms. Women should begin getting mammograms every 1-2 years after the age of 40, but depending on your family history it might be beneficial to start earlier. You might be eligible for a free or low-cost exam, check here to see. Although mammograms starts later in life, self-exams should be done at a younger age, starting in your teenage years. Ask your doctor how to perform a self-exam or click here for a how-to.
3. Go on a walk. Avon has its annual walk for breast cancer. Check out their site for more information about how you can volunteer, donate and walk for women and men who are affected by the disease in different cities. Make sure to wear pink!
4. Do some shopping. It may sound silly but so many stores sell pink products to fundraise for breast cancer and all or most of the proceeds go towards different organizations. Do some research before buying but places like Avon, Zazzle, SavetheTatas and even Essie have products to support the struggle.
Breast cancer affects everyone—not just the men and women who are diagnosed but their families, friends and loved ones as well. Please take a moment to do some learning or donating to take further care of your own body and the ones of those around you.
This article is dedicated to all of those who have lost their lives to breast cancer, to those who survived and those who are currently fighting. We hope you all find the strength to get through it and have a happy and healthy October.