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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 1, 2019 Read Time - 5 minutes

About Author

Jennifer is a freelance writer in the Midwest who writes about a variety of topics but especially enjoys educating people about their health and the health of their pets.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The purpose is to help increase awareness of breast cancer and help with early detection. Breast cancer is the second-most common type of cancer in women (although men can get breast cancer, also).

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2019, we’re going to discuss the symptoms, causes, different stages, and different kinds of breast cancer. Then, we’ll talk more specifically about Breast Cancer Awareness Month and how you can get involved.

Breast Cancer Symptoms

The most obvious symptom of breast cancer is a lump in the breast. However, there are other symptoms, including:

Dimpling of the breast skin

Change in the shape, size, or appearance of a breast

Newly inverted nipple

A thickened area that feels different from surrounding tissue

Peeling, crusting, scaling, or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin

Pitting or redness on the skin of the breast (like an orange peel)

Different Kinds of Breast Cancer

“Breast cancer” isn’t one specific type of cancer. Rather, it’s any number of cancer types that can occur in breast tissue. The different kinds of breast cancer include:

Angiosarcoma

Inflammatory breast cancer

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)

Paget’s disease of the breast

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

Invasive lobular carcinoma

 Male breast cancer

Recurrent breast cancer

Causes of Breast Cancer

While there are some factors that increase a person’s risk of developing breast cancer, few specific causes have been identified. There are genetic, lifestyle, hormonal, and environmental factors that may cause breast cancer.

One known cause of breast cancer is a genetic factor. Around 5 to 10 of breast cancers are inherited through the family via two genes. These genes are breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2).

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

There are many things that may increase a person’s chance of developing breast cancer. Some of those risk factors include:

Being female

 Drinking alcohol

Obesity

Radiation exposure

Family history of breast cancer

Increasing age

Never having been pregnant

Having your first child after 30

History of breast conditions

Postmenopausal hormone therapy

Starting your period before age 12

Beginning menopause at an older age

Different Stages of Breast Cancer

There are 5 different stages of breast cancer. They range from stage 0, which is noninvasive, to stage IV, which has spread to other parts of the body.  

After a breast cancer diagnosis, many tests will be done to determine your stage. Your breast cancer stage may affect what types of treatment you need.


Breast Cancer Treatment

There are many different types of treatments for breast cancer. Treatment varies depending on type and stage. The most common treatments include:

Radiation therapy

Chemotherapy

Hormone therapy

Targeted therapy drugs

Immunotherapy

Supportive (palliative) care

There are a wide variety of surgeries that may be performed, including:

Lumpectomy – Removing cancer from the breast

Mastectomy – Removing the entirety of the breast

Axillary lymph node dissection – Removing additional lymph nodes

Sentinel node biopsy – Removing and testing a few lymph nodes

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Charities

There are a wide variety of breast cancer awareness month charities that you may choose to support. A few of the most common breast cancer charities include:

Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation Living Beyond Breast Cancer
National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Breast Cancer Research Foundation
National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) Breastcancer.org
Young Survival Coalition (YSC) The Pink Fund
The Breast Cancer Charities of America (BCCA) California Breast Cancer Research Program

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Runs, Walks, and Other Events

October is the time to run or walk for breast cancer awareness. There are lots of events around the country to choose from. Here are just a few:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference 2020 (April 3-4 in Chicago, Illinois)

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (multiple locations across the country)

Famously Pink Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K (Columbia, South Carolina)

Shelter Island Fall 5k (Shelter Island, New York)

Paint the Parkway Pink 5K (San Antonio, Texas)

Pinkathon (San Francisco, California)

How to Get Involved with Breast Cancer Awareness Month

There are lots of ways you can get involved with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A few ideas are to:

Volunteer your time

Share your breast cancer survivor story

Donate your money

Fundraise money

Buy pink ribbon products (if you can verify proceeds go to breast cancer charities)

Be a corporate sponsor

Read More About Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Sources:

Mayo Clinic. Breast Cancer. Accessed on November 5, 2019 at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20352470

National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Accessed on November 5, 2019 at https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month

Medical News Today. What are the most effective breast cancer charities? Accessed on November 5, 2019 at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319226.php

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