October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Every October, since 1985, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Created to promote screening and prevention of the disease, which affects one in eight women in the United States every year and 2.3 million women worldwide, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has become a recognized public service, fundraising and educational opportunity. By providing this opportunity to give voice to the seriousness of the disease, groups ranging from breast cancer advocacy organizations to local community organizations to major retailers work hard to support people diagnosed with breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer by educating people about risk factors and the importance of regular screening.
October also brings recognition of Male Breast Cancer. Although far more rare than Breast Cancer in women, men do have a small amount of breast tissue that can suceptible to the disease. About 2,710 American men are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2022 with an expected 530 deaths occuring. In 2021, President Joe Biden designated a week of Breast Cancer Awareness Month to Men’s Breast Cancer, a disease that carries a lack of awareness and sigma, creating barriers to detection and treatment.
Risk factors for men and women are similar, including genetic mutations, aging, high estrogen levels and family history all play a role in an increased risk of developing Breast Cancer. For men, an increased risk can come with hormone therapy for prostate cancer, injury, swelling or surgery to the testicles and, like women, heavy drinking or being overweight can be risk factors.
Metistatic Breast Cancer is identified when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, which happens in about ⅓ of cases. Symptoms of Metistatic Breast Cancer can vary widely depending on the location of the cancer, but signs may include:
- back, bone, or joint pain that does not go away
- difficulty urinating (either incontinence or not being able to go), which can be a sign that the cancer is pinching nerves in your back
- numbness or weakness anywhere in your body
- a constant dry cough shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- chest pain
- loss of appetite
- abdominal bloating, pain, or tenderness constant nausea, vomiting, or weight loss
- jaundice (a yellow tinge to the skin and whites of your eyes)
- severe headaches
- vision problems (blurry vision, double vision, loss of vision)
- Seizures and loss of balance confusion
While Medistatic Breast Cancer is not curable, it is treatable and many patients are able to treat their cancer for years. Right now, about 170,000 people in the United States are living with metastatic breast cancer.
What To Do During Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Raise your awareness, continue to learn and engage in screenings.
This year, an estimated 43,780 people will die from Breast Cancer. 9% of new cases in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.
Minimize your risk for breast cancer and encourage others to do the same. There are many lifestyle changes we can make that can lower our risk of Breast Cancer, including not smoking or drinking alcohol and exercising regularly.
We can also learn the proper tecniques for self breast exams and talk to our doctors about regular mamograms. For resources to help you talk about Breast Cancer, find screening and self exam information and ways to reduce your risk factors, you can follow this link.
There are many places where you can donate money for research, mammograms and more. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., also provides HOPE kits to women struggling with Breast Cancer through generous donations. To learn more about HOPE kits, click here. To donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., click here. To learn more about Breast Cancer Resources in New York State, click here.
This information is provided by Breastcancer.org.
Donate to support free resources and programming for people affected by breast cancer.