The importance of awareness and prevention for breast cancer

23 October 2018

Scribe staff

scribe@uccs.edu

    According to breastcancer.org approximately 330,080 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States in 2018, and approximately 2,550 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in the United States in 2018.

    Although a man’s chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime is only one in 1,000 and a woman’s chance is one in eight according to cancer.org, awareness and prevention are equally important for both sexes.

    Luckily, breast cancer awareness has greatly increased in recent years, making this occasionally deadly disease easier to face.

    Thousands of races, events and informative meetings occur across the United States on a yearly basis. You can buy merchandise boldly colored in pink and marked with breast cancer ribbons and October is now designated to breast cancer awareness. Events and merchandise like this have only yielded positive results.

    A research study done by BMC Cancer reports that “Increased levels of online activity relating to breast cancer are consistently generated each October” and that “The annual breast cancer awareness campaign is proving effective in stimulating online activity and may hold useful lessons for other cancer awareness initiatives.”

    The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. has also reported a rise in funding for almost a decade, proving that awareness is beneficial.

    Furthermore, Rockwood Health Club reports that awareness often encourages early diagnosis, which leads to a higher chance of survival.

    Alongside awareness, taking preventative measures is key to your health, and often times the first step to prevention is understanding your risks and limiting them if possible.

    The CDC reports that there are many risks we face that we cannot change, including: getting older, genetic mutations and a family history of breast cancer. However, there are some risks you can limit, such as: not being physically active, smoking and excessively drinking.

    After understanding your risks, you can move on to taking preventative measures. You can do this by eating healthier, performing self-breast examinations, contacting your doctor and having mammograms (which are beneficial to both men and women) conducted every year or two, according to the Mayo Clinic. Mammograms are considered one of the most powerful tools available to fight cancer, and they are almost always covered under the Affordable Care Act, so they are usually affordable.

    With these resources, and with advancements in treatment being made every year, the benefits of taking preventative measures far outweigh the potential risks. And it is safe to say that no one who is diagnosed with breast cancer — or any cancer, for that matter — goes through treatment happy that they had not found the disease sooner.

    Take Cathy E. White-Koon for example, who shared her story with Dayton Daily News back in 2012. In 1998, at the age of 40, she was diagnosed with malignant breast cancer. The only catch was that the tumor could not be detected by a simple physical exam. It was the mammogram that saved her life.

    When sharing her story, she emphasized the importance of prevention and the difference it made in her life: “The mass was lying against the chest wall and could not be felt by a physical exam one week prior to the mammogram. This routine test literally saved my life. The doctors said had I waited until the tumor could be felt, it would certainly have metastasized.”

    Suffice it to say that the importance of breast cancer awareness and prevention, as with all cancers, cannot be emphasized enough, for the sake those who are diagnosed and those who love them.

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