Checking Up – Breast Cancer Awareness Month helps save lives

Morgan Profumo

Morgan Profumo

Being a survivor means you’ve fought and emerged alive. The National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that 180,000 women this year will be survivors of the second leading cause of death among women.

During October, our nation fights exceptionally hard to make all women aware that taking steps to detect breast cancer is imperative to their health. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is set in place to ensure all women have the knowledge necessary to detect breast cancer early.

Breast cancer, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, is a disease in which malignant, or infectious, cancer cells form a mass of cells called a tumor in the breast tissue. If the mass of cells is detected early enough, it can be treated more effectively, and this can save the patient’s life.

Statistics show that one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer; this is approximately 220,000 women per year. Of these cases, more than 40,000 end in death.

Although instances are rarer, men are also at risk for developing breast cancer. The National Breast Cancer Foundation states that each year there will be approximately 2,150 cases of breast cancer in men, and an estimated 410 will lead to death.

The severity and prevalence of this disease are enough to scare anyone. You may want to examine yourself occasionally for symptoms of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society advises that you should look for common symptoms such as a lump in your breast, swelling around your breast or armpit, skin thickening or redness, itching around the breast and pain.

A few risk factors can increase the probability of developing breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the only cause that is fully understood is the role of genetics. If you are genetically predisposed, the chance of obtaining breast cancer relies on whether or not you inherit the gene mutation. If you know you are a carrier of the mutated gene, you can take preventative steps like surgery that minimizes the risk of development. The other way to prevent breast cancer is to self-examine and attempt to catch the cancer early enough to undergo treatment and obtain successful results.

On campus, organizations are raising their voices to make students aware of breast cancer, its causes and early detection benefits. TopperWell, a peer-health organization, created a human ribbon on Wednesday that showed its support for breast-cancer awareness. Megan Johnson, a peer-health educator for TopperWell, said the human ribbon was important because it created awareness of breast cancer on campus.

Being aware of the symptoms and causes of breast cancer may help people detect breast cancer early enough to cure it. This can help decrease the number of lives that are taken by cancer and increase the number of survivors.