Since the mid-1980’s October has become known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. From 1989 to 2015, deaths from the disease dropped by 39%, or over 320,000 lives*. This is an incredibly positive development, credited from increased awareness and improved treatments for the disease.
However, even with these optimistic updates breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in the US and second deadliest. A woman has a 1-in-8 chance of developing the disease. Unfortunately, breast cancer can’t be prevented but there are steps to detect it earlier which ultimately leads to increased survival rates. And because of the level of awareness for the disease there are a plethora of support groups available for patients and their families.
Below are some steps for the early detection of breast cancer. We’ve also provided some ways to support the cause by increasing awareness, improving treatments and most important advancing outcomes of those affected by the disease.
Steps for Early Detection set by American Cancer Society:
- Step 1 – Breast self-exam, should be performed monthly
- Step 2 – Clinical breast exam – see a doctor if you feel anything out of the ordinary, better to be safe, otherwise every annual health exam
- Step 3 – Mammogram – upon detection of an irregularity, or annually for 40-45 and over
Ways to Support the Cause:
- Get involved with friend and family to raise awareness – wear a pink ribbon to show your support, participate in a local or national event, etc. This is a link to a list of 50 creative ideas
- Partner with a local or nationally recognized charity – such as Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, American Cancer Society, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, etc.
- Be supportive to someone affected by the disease – talking with someone about their experience or encounter with the disease is very helpful
- Donate – every dollar counts, even a small donation can make a difference in someone’s life. Make sure you are donating to a reputable organization.
Whether you have been personally affected by Breast Cancer, or know someone who has, it is a widespread disease that can often be helped by being proactive and the support of family, friends and colleagues.
If you have questions or need support you can contact the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Helpline at 800.227.2345.