The list no one wants to be on is endless. You cannot be rich enough or famous enough to escape it if you have it. Christina Applegate, Elizabeth Edwards, Amy Mickelson and Sandra Day O’Connor can attest to that. Their names are only a fraction of the numbers of people with breast cancer. Thankfully, many famous people have willingly shared their stories in order to bring more awareness to the subject. Here is a sobering fact for you — more than one in four cancers is breast cancer. Besides skin cancer, it is the most common cancer in the United States.
It is so common that even men can fall prey to this disease. Richard Roundtree the actor and former Massachusetts senator Edward W. Brooke can attest to this. Because of the prevalence of breast cancer in our society,
the media swamps us with information regarding it all year. Nevertheless, October is the official month of Breast Cancer Awareness. This month, there will be an increased effort in helping people become aware of what they can do to better their odds at preventing this disease or for early detection to increase their chances of survival.
Becoming aware is your first step; action is the second. Do your monthly breast self-exam. Information about how to do it properly is literally at your fingertips. Do not neglect getting your yearly mammogram. Plan to have it done in a location near you. Yes, it might be a hassle, and sometimes uncomfortable, but invasive cancer will cost you far more hassles and the uncomfortable part is off the chart. Become aware of what your community has to offer for free or minimal-fee testing. Investigate your family’s health history and discover your risks. Educate yourself about the proper diet, lifestyle choices and medications that can increase your risks. Discuss your concerns with your health care provider to determine the best course of action for you. Be your own best advocate for your health care!
Get the word out! Communicate to family members and friends the importance of being aware, and encourage them to take the necessary steps for their health. If you can, donate to reputable organizations that seek to meet the needs of those diagnosed with this disease. There are many opportunities to make a difference. Organizations that further the research of this disease are critical, but they need your help to find a cure. Breast cancer can be a frightening diagnosis, but knowledge is power. Improve your odds of survival by arming yourself with all the proper tools to fight this disease.
Written by Betty Tryon
This article is for general information only and does not constitute medical advice. Consult with your physician for questions regarding this topic.