National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
A pink ribbon is distinct. Its unique meaning strikes in a millisecond.
The well-known ribbon and its distinctive color has become the official symbol of commitment and awareness in the global fight against breast cancer in October. Organizations and people interested in the cause use it to represent hope for the future while honoring those who have suffered from the disease. The ribbon joins people from all backgrounds in solidarity with those who are currently suffering from it.
This color is not a fashion trend. It’s a visible form of awareness and education on prevention, early detection, and treatment of this disease.
Breast Cancer Does Not Discriminate
Breast cancer continues to be the most common type of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with this cancer in her lifetime, and 1 in 39 will die from the disease. According to the 2021 Cancer Facts & Figures report published last month by the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that by December of this year, there will be 281,550 new cases, which represents 30% of all possible cancer diagnoses.
Breast cancer is not exclusive to women. Men can also suffer from the disease although at a lesser extent. The same report estimates that 2,650 new cases of men will be diagnosed this year with a risk of life of 1 in 1000 cases.
Mary Ann Orlang works as a clinical nurse specialist in genetics at the Regional Cancer Center in Florida. She helps patients with genetic cancer tests that might be inherited. Orlang said that cancer is a disease that does not distinguish between sex and age. “We see a wide range of people with this condition on a daily basis. We serve very young women, in their twenties or thirties, as well as older women,” said Orlang. “We have also had male patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, although their risk is not as high as women.”
As Orlang said, learning how this type of cancer behaves plays a very important role in prevention and treatment.
“Awareness is important—especially with risk factors like family history of breast cancer or prostate cancer since prostate cancer is also associated with BRCA genes.”
Orlang also said that breast self-exam is highly recommended and should be started as early as 18 years of age for women with high-risk families. This allows the young woman to learn to distinguish what is normal for her and to recognize in time if there is something wrong. This is also true for men because, as Orlang points out, although the detection of breast cancer in men is much easier, it is common that the diagnosis comes as a result of a medical evaluation for the presence of lumps, secretions, or change in the appearance of the breasts.
Risk Factors: What Should You Know?
Breast cancer is not an infectious, bacterial, or transmissible disease like the human papilloma (HPV). Statistics from the American Cancer Society show that approximately 10% […]