An Open Letter about Breast Cancer

Dear You,

 

The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

 

There are over 2.8 million women who have been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in the U.S. 

 

Gender is one of the two most significant risk factors for developing breast cancer. Age is the next. If we're lucky enough to grow older, we shouldn't let breast cancer be a topic of concern only in October. It should be something we are aware of all the time, because no one gets to choose when or if they become affected by it. I know this first hand; I am a daughter of a breast cancer survivor.

 

Since a good amount of readers are young adults, please take the following into consideration:

 

DON’T IGNORE PAIN. Most women who become diagnosed with breast cancer don’t complain of pain, but that doesn’t mean that it’s normal. If pain is persistent, you should get it checked out. It could be nothing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

Do frequent Breast Self-Examinations (BSE). For some, it may be an uncomfortable thing (which is understandable), but you’ve only got one body to live in; take care of it. Here is a set of steps so you can become familiar with how to do it.

 

“Just because you’re young, you can’t get it”. Yes, it is rare to be diagnosed at a young age but it does happen.

 

If you feel like something isn’t right, ask you doctor.  Sometimes tumors are hidden so deep in the tissue of our skin that they are not able to be felt or even seen and the younger someone is, the more common it is that for a tumor to be found, an ultrasound or mammogram is needed.

 

Early detection is the best protection. If you, a family member, or anyone you know is worried, please go get checked out. If cost is a worry, go to your local hospital and ask if they are holding free mammograms. A lot of main hospitals do - and not just through the month of October.

 

Don’t wait. Don’t ignore any signs. Don’t be scared. Think pink.

 

1 in 8 U.S. women develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime, please take all precautions serious and necessary to ensure this won’t be you or anyone you care about.