Breast Cancer Awareness: Early Detection

Statistics show that 1 out of every 8 women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetimes… Statistics show that every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S… Statistics show that breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women worldwide… But statistics also show that when breast cancer is detected in its early stages, there is a greater possibility for survival.

There is a misconception about the diagnosis of breast cancer that leads many of us to believe that routine screenings and mammograms only need to be done when we are older (typically over the age of 35)… But with this being such a common disease in women, it becomes more and more important for us to develop and support breast cancer awareness as early as possible.

Growing up with my mom being a nurse + with our family losing my Aunt Darla to breast cancer in 2004, there was always a card that hung from my shower with images and instructions of how to do a breast self-examination. It looked something like this:

shower_card

Without my mother even having to say a word to me, it instilled the idea in my mind that once I developed breasts, I needed to be proactive in examining myself for any lumps or abnormalities. Through research about the disease and how affects women worldwide, I can now see that the information that was accessible to me everyday I stepped into my bathroom has not been accessible to the majority of women at risk.

Many of us don’t consider that the diagnosis of breast cancer is anything that will ever happen to us, so we don’t pay it too much attention… Many of us are scared to find out that we have it, or that we have a gene for it, or anything related to it, so we try not to think/talk about it (if we ignore it, it won’t be real, right?)…. Or more commonly, many of us cannot afford healthcare for regular check-ups and screenings with physicians.

For this reason, women have formed organizations that are dedicated to providing resources that help and encourage young women to be proactive with their health through breast cancer awareness. There is the 50 Shades of Pink organization started by Dr. Jacqueline Walters, a two-time breast cancer survivor (mentioned in The Real’s video above) and the Bright Pink organization started by Lindsay Avner, who, at age 23, learned she had a gene that indicated she had an 87% chance to develop breast cancer. The need for us to be mindful of the changes occurring in our bodies will never go away, so it’s beneficial that there are organizations and programs in which focus on women’s health… Especially to spark the interests of young women who may not have been concerned about it otherwise.

The Bright Pink organization is especially helpful with providing free information about breast and ovarian cancer including how to reduce the risk and tools to encourage proactivity with early detection practices. I strongly encourage you visit the site (http://brightpink.org) to learn more about these types of cancers and to share what you learn with your friends, sisters, and Twitter followers too.

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