The month of October is filled with many things: fall, scary movies, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Halloween, national pizza month… but there’s one thing many people forget about. October is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the pink ribbon is used to draw awareness and educate the public.
I am very fortunate and have not been personally affected by breast cancer in my family. But as a nurse, it has made an impact on my life. I do not work in oncology and I praise those that do. It is a very taxing and emotional specialty, but that’s not the reason why I choose not to work in oncology. Cancer is very smart. It has found a way to attack every body system, to wreak havoc on many lives, and it has a way of outsmarting many doctors. I findit very intimidating, especially because I do not know much about it. I love knowing as much as I can about the diseases, illnesses, and injuries that my patients experience, and the “unknown” aspect of cancer is something very frustrating to me as a nurse.
That being said, I make it my own personal goal to educate many people on potential preventable diseases when I can. Breast cancer is not necessarily preventable, but it is a cancer that we can partially fight with lifestyle changes and increasing awareness.
As far as preventative measures go, educating yourself to the known risk factors, signs and symptoms to watch for, and monthly self exams are VITAL. Let’s talk about some statistics first:
- About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.
- In 2017, it’s expected that around 253,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women, while another 2,500 new cases will be diagnosed in men.
- Though the mortality rate continues to drop, it’s estimated that 40,610 women will die in 2017 from breast cancer.
- Roughly 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of it.
- Breast cancer is the second most deadly cancer amongst women, lung cancer being the first.
- A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if they have a first degree relative whose been diagnosed (mother, sister, daughter). That being said, less than 15% of women with breast cancer have a family member who has been diagnosed.
Keeping all these statistics in mind, let’s talk about prevention. Self breast exams is any easy and quick way to catch breast cancer early. It takes roughly 3 minutes and the best way to remember to do it is on a routine schedule. Many recommend doing it on the first of every month while in the shower. Any lumps or bumps, pain, and abnormal discharge are things to watch out for. There’s a 98% survival rate for breast cancer when caught in early stages. Knowing your body and the changes it makes are so important, not just for breast cancer, but just overall health!
The healthy lifestyle that is recommended to reduce the chances of breast cancer are the typical and very well-knownrecommendations that decrease the risk of many diseases. This includes limiting your exposure to toxins and pollutions, maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping your intake of alcohol at a minimum. These are just standard goals of healthy living.
The pink that we see throughout the month of October are (hopefully) signs of fundraising and raising awareness. Many of my favorite brands do some sort of fundraising and donate to finding a cure and raising awareness.
- Cherokee Uniforms has various items that donate to Breast Cancer Awareness. They have scrubs, jackets, compression socks, and even shoes. The super cute jacket I am wearing in the picture is from Cherokee Uniforms. It is from the Cherokee Flexibles line and is super cute and comfy. It alsosupports the cause. They also sell Reebok shoes, which has exclusive styles that donate to BCA.
- Caribou Coffee has a specific blend of coffee that donates to BCA. Amy’s Blend was dedicated to a roastmaker that lost her battle with breast cancer, and now Caribou uses some of the profits from this coffee to donate to BCA.
- Panera Bread actually has a Pink Ribbon Bagel. It’s shaped like a ribbon and part of the sales go to BCA. Sometimes, the stores have days where 100% of the Pink Ribbon Bagel profits donate to BCA.
- FIGS scrubs has made an exclusive underscrub shirt just for BCA. 100% of proceeds are donated to F*ck Cancer. It’s something you can be happy about wearing under your scrubs because you won’t turn any heads and you can be happy about donating to a great cause!
- There are hundreds of other amazing companies out there that donate to BCA, but I just highlighted on some of my absolute favorites. There are also some other great ways to participate in fundraising, such as community 5ks, road races, and walks that are specifically put on for BCA, and also volunteering at events can also help!
- I’d also love to touch on hair donation! Patricia Olina, on Instagram as @scrubsandstripes , just recently donated her hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program after three years of growing it out. This was not her first time donating, either! This is such a selfless act that I really admire.
Please stay informed, do self exams, and do your best in raising awareness and helping find a cure! Like always, thank you so much for taking the time to check out my blog. I love learning new things, so if you have any feedback, questions or comments, I’d love to hear what you have to say! ❤