Be a Catalyst for Hope this Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is a month full of exciting things: Halloween, crisp weather, fall clothes and, of course, pumpkin spice everything! The most special attribute of October, however, is that it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. For a whole month, pink is everyone’s favorite color.

Breast Cancer Awareness month is dedicated to shedding light on this devastating disease. One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, making breast cancer the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. It is the second leading cause of cancer death among women; each year it is estimated that over 246,660 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 40,000 will die. Breast cancer does not discriminate; although it is rarer in men, an estimated 2,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 440 will die each year.

Breast cancer has affected many people personally, not only the ones with the disease, but friends and family who experience the frightening emotional journey with their loved ones. The strength and bravery that these people possess is truly admirable. Even if you are not personally affected by breast cancer, breast cancer awareness is still equally as important.

When a woman finds her breast cancer early (stage 1), there is a 95 percent success rate for treatment. Mammograms become recommended once a year for women 40 and older. Clinical breast exams every three years are also recommended starting at the age of 20. The amount of breast exams and how often a person should have them is dependent on family history and other medical factors.

This month should not just focus on the disease itself, but the survivors, the ones who are still fighting and those who have been taken. Be a catalyst for hope. There are many ways to support the fight against breast cancer. Many people often think of donating money as a means of support (which is a great thing to do), but make sure you check into the organizations you plan on donating to. Another way to help is to really “think pink” this month. Wear pink all you can to show support; it can be your way of starting the conversation to let others know more about breast cancer and early detection. Look into local organizations that may be sponsoring events that support the fight against breast cancer. The last and most important thing to remember about breast cancer is that these people fighting need our support, as well as our hope, all year long.