The Importance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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In case you haven’t noticed, there’s pink everywhere this month for breast cancer awareness month, aside from all of the Halloween decorations. Restaurants are serving pink cups, you may see pink ribbons on your favorite products in the grocery store, football players are sporting a pink rag in their back pocket on the field.

It’s so incredibly easy to get caught up in seeing all the pink that you end up seeing past it. I (Kelsey) remember a friend of mine in college once chiding that he didn’t understand the point of awareness months in general, and another chiming in with agreement. Their thought process was what’s the point of incorporating pink into a uniform for a month, especially when the entire country is being drowned in a sea of pink already? In other words, what’s the point of creating so much noise about something, especially if it’s something that may not apply to you? And, of course, the didn't understand, but I'm sure that they're not the only ones. It raises a good point: it’s not about pinning a pink ribbon to your shirt, patting yourself on the back, and moving right along: it’s about a fight, and yes, raising awareness.

This month is vital for that one woman may be looking past all the information about this disease when she really needs to hear it. Not to be *those people*, but you truly never know when cancer is going to hit a loved one or, unfortunately, you. And seeing as breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women in her lifetime, it’s highly possible. And, it’s not just for women: a little more than 2,000 men will be/have been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 in the US.

Luckily, death related to breast cancer is on the decline—39% from 1989 to 2015, to be exact—but the race isn’t completely over. Know these facts and be aware:

  • Approximately 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer have/will develop this year.
  • About 1 in 37 women will die from breast cancer.
  • Man, it’s so not fun, but mammograms are important in addition to self-exams.
  • 3 out of the 4 women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease, and are also not considered high risk.
  • A lump found on the breast is the most well-known symptom, but swelling of an area on the breast, breast or nipple pain, and nipple discharge or inversion are also symptoms to keep on your radar.
  • Right now, there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors (including those who are still being treated) in the US. Some of them may be next to you at the barre!

How to join the fight

  • Donate! The Cancer Research Institute accepts donations to continue to find the cure, and money donated National Breast Cancer Foundation will go towards providing mammograms and educational materials.
  • Support these businesses who support the fight against breast cancer, as well as business like Panera Bread, who offer a ribbon bagel (and who isn’t down for a bagel?).
  • If you have a friend who has breast cancer, here are some do’s and don’ts with being a helping hand to them, and maybe give them one of these witty cards, designed by a cancer survivor.
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