What You Should Know About Breast Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2017. That means more women will have to endure traumatic and expensive surgeries such as mastectomies, lymph node biopsies and dissections, breast reconstruction, and the immediate and enduring effects of chemotherapy.

As a 20-year-old female who's had breast cancer impact two generations of women in my family, I have witnessed the devastation it brings. Luckily, my family members are survivors, but that is not the case for 40,610 women who die every year from cancer.  

Though October is coming to an end, the fight against breast cancer does not. It is important that we acknowledge the ways in which we can help women learn about the early detection signs and about the ways we can contribute to breast cancer efforts.

As women, it is recommended that we perform monthly breast exams to look for early signs. This can be done by the individual or a doctor.  The National Breast Cancer Organization equips women with a tutorial on how to perform self exams in multiple ways. You can do it in the shower, in front of a mirror, or lying on your back. It is important to note that not all tumors can be found by a physical breast exam. Many women learn about their tumors through mammograms - "x-rays" that show breast tissue. These machines do not diagnose breast cancer, but they indicate if further testing is necessary.

Some early signs of breast cancer may include:

  • A Change In The Breast Or Nipple Appearance

  • A Change In How The Breast Or Nipple Feels

  • Any Nipple Discharge—Particularly Clear Discharge Or Bloody Discharge

To get involved in breast cancer awareness, you can find a walk near you with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Even though most breast cancer walks occur throughout the month of October, there are opportunities to fundraise and donate for a breast cancer organization. Some organizations include:

[Feature Image by Pexels]