By: Dina Furumoto, Intern, Keiro
It’s back again – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While many know about the campaign (which is difficult to miss because everything turns PINK!), many are not aware of the steps for prevention and early detection.
According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is detected early and is localized (meaning it is concentrated in one area), the 5-year relative survival rate is 100%.
It’s better to familiarize yourself with the different signs and symptoms of breast cancer in order to detect it early. A common symptom is finding either a lump or mass in your breast, but only a small number of lumps are cancerous. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore it though! It is important to talk to your physician. But other common signs and symptoms to look out for are:
It is important to develop a monthly routine of performing self breast examinations (BSEs), rather than just depending on mammograms. These self-examinations are important because it helps you familiarize yourself with how your breasts look and feel, so if there is a change you can quickly seek professional advice. There are different ways to perform self-examinations, either in the shower, in front of a mirror or lying down.
Along with breast examinations, other ways you can reduce the risks of breast cancer are:
Also it is important to know your family history of breast cancer since it can be hereditary. 3
Being a woman in my early 20s, learning about the facts and symptoms behind this cancer has made me realize how important monthly self-examinations are and also to be conscious of how my body changes.
And breast cancer is not gender specific. Men can also get it and should develop the habit of self-examinations.
After finding out the hardships that people face with this cancer, I find it important to highlight the impact of volunteering, raising money for the cause, and also raising awareness. My relatives have participated in sponsored breast cancer walks, raising money for their team’s goals, and also have volunteered at events. But even on a smaller level, my friends and I have bought pink awareness merchandise that supports the cause by donating proceeds to various cancer foundations. There are many ways to raise awareness about breast cancer, not just during the month of October but year-round.
To find more information about performing self-examinations: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam
To find more information about volunteering or donating:
About the Author:
Dina Furumoto is a 2015 summer intern at Keiro. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (option in Criminology) and a minor in Political Science. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, embroidering, and staying involved in the Japanese American community.
The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. Full disclaimer