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Think Pink: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Many people only know October for Halloween. While Halloween is a great part of October, there is another part of October that many people should know about. Breast cancer awareness month is here, and people need to be more aware of it. 

Breast cancer is a terrible disease that afflicts many women each year. They lose their hair, they go through the traumatizing experience of chemotherapy and many have to have either a single or double mastectomy. It’s a scary experience that these women bravely fight for often long periods of time. 

I know firsthand the terror of having someone you love be diagnosed with breast cancer. I was sixteen when my mom went in for a typical mammogram. It turned out she had a tumor the size of a pinky finger. If she hadn’t gone in for that mammogram, she may have never caught it until it got worse. The surgery went smoothly, and she had to go in for radiation treatments for several months. 

When I first learned of my mom’s diagnosis, I wanted to cry and be afraid. My mom is my best friend. The thought of anything bad happening to her was terrifying. But she told me she didn’t want my tears because she was going to fight the cancer and kick its butt. 

I was lucky enough that my mom really did kick cancer’s butt. She was so strong, despite the side effects from the medication, as well as tiredness and hair thinning from the radiation. Now she is almost five years in remission from cancer and I’m so thankful every day that she was able to fight this terrible disease. 

Not every woman is aware of the symptoms and signs of breast cancer though, unfortunately. Women can give themselves a full breast exam when they’re in the shower or on their own to feel for possible lumps. It takes five minutes and it’s very simple. Raise your arm over your head and curl it at the elbow. Then, using your free hand, feel around the breast thoroughly to see if you can feel anything. Do this for both sides.

Women should give themselves a breast exam once every few weeks to maintain consistency.  It’s also important to have a mammogram every year to check for any tumors or other irregularities in the breasts. As I mentioned before, the tumor my mother had was so small she never would have felt it. By having a yearly mammogram, women can check anything they may not be able to notice on their own. Women should also see if breast cancer is a condition that runs in their family or if they are susceptible to the gene for cancer. 

Breast cancer is a serious and scary condition. Only through awareness and donations to research charities can we possibly find a cure. It’s important women learn how they can test themselves for breast cancer. If you suspect you may have any lumps or irregularities in your breasts, it’s important you go to a doctor and test for breast cancer. The earlier the cancer is caught, the better chance a person has to beat breast cancer. Together, we can all work together to find a cure someday.

Shana is an English Literature and Secondary Education major. She loves to write and has been writing since early middle school. She hopes to have her first book published within the next few years. She also enjoys knitting, singing, and cooking.