Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a world-wide annual campaign, which involves thousands of organisations whose aim is to spread as much awareness as possible on the cause during the month of October. With Breast Cancer on the rise and especially in younger woman, having enough awareness not just this month, but every month is vital. It’s a very important topic to be highlighted to all.
I am a breast cancer survivor, so spreading awareness on this cause is very close to my heart. I was diagnosed at the age of 32 and am now 6 months into my cancer remission. I found my lump very early on, which is what made my journey that much easier. I continue to spread awareness as this isn’t something that goes away.
During the month of October, organisations and charity’s hold a lot of events in order to spread awareness on this disease. We have undoubtedly seen a rise in breast cancer over recent years and even more so in younger woman; Something that needs to be highlighted is the assumption that breast cancer is most common in older woman as this has now been proven to not necessarily be the case.
One of the most important things with breast cancer is early detection and I cannot stress enough the importance of early detection in breast cancer; This will have a huge impact in terms of severity and treatment.
The rise in young women checking their breasts for lumps or for any abnormalities has risen and there has definitely been an improvement in encouraging others to do the same. However, there’s still a way to go in normalising this. Do you know what you’re looking for when you check your breasts?
Check them girls!
Checking your breasts on a regular basis will help you to detect and track any abnormalities or changes. Knowing your breasts is extremely important and becoming self-aware is a given, as you become more conscious of noticing any changes; This will also help a lot in terms of early detection.
What we do know is that breasts come in all different sizes and shapes and can also change at different times of the month and also with age. Some people also naturally have lumpy breasts, which can often cause anxiety.
The more you become familiar with your body, the more aware you’ll become in noticing any signs, symptoms or breast development that is associated with breast cancer. It will also help you understand what changes to look for in your breasts. In the lead up to my diagnosis I felt very different and was extremely hormonal, I knew that something was wrong with me. A few weeks later I found my lump.
So what am I looking for?
• Lumps in breast or swollen lyph nodes.
• Changes in skin, such as swelling, redness, or visible differences in either breasts.
• Changes in the appearance of your nipple/nipples.
• Nipple discharge.
• General pain in any if the breasts.
If you notice any of these differences, call your GP immediately for a checkup; Do not ignore any changes, as I have already highlighted early detection is vital.
But isn’t it only women who can get breast cancer?
It’s rarer, but breast cancer can occur in men too, with less than one percent of men effected by the disease. Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump under the nipple and areola, which is something to bear in mind for those around you.
How can you help to spread awareness during Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
Wear it pink! Pink is the colour associated with Breast Cancer and you may have seen people wearing the pink ribbon or pink clothes during the month of October to help raise money and to spread awareness.
Social media is also a great platform to make some noise and encourage others to get involved, so dig out some pink clothes, throw on some pink lippy and get involved in any way you can! In recent years, there has been more focus on the cause from brands and influencers, helping to generate buzz around how others can get involved.
Bottom line, every little helps and by doing this we really can help to save lives. Getting involved, whether you’re encouraging people to check their breasts or are actively raising money, is an educational opportunity for society. Breast cancer is curable and it doesn’t have to be as scary as we think. There have been so many developments in medicine and science, that we can only gain more knowledge on how to fight this disease and my journey only proved that.
I hope to continue to inspire others through my journey and is why I chose to document everything through social media. Early detection and positivity are what saved my life and this is why it is incredibly important to become self-aware of your own bodies, so that you instantly recognise any changes not only in your breasts but through your hormones too. Breast cancer has made me fearless and incredibly strong, stronger than I ever thought I was. I will be doing my part this month in helping to spread awareness as much as possible and hope that I can continue to empower others.
Pink lipstick at the ready ladies!