October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
Find out more about how you can support the fight against breast cancer and stand with the millions of people who have been diagnosed or are currently living with breast cancer today.
Q: What is breast cancer and why should I care?
A: Breast cancer is an illness in the chest caused by cells in the area that are dividing and growing out of their normal control. It's an illness that affects all genders, with 1.3 in every 100,000 males and 131.6 in every 100,000 females being diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2020, an estimated 276,480 females and 2,620 males will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. You can find out more information and statistics on breast cancer on the Susan G. Komen website HERE.
You can also learn more about breast cancer on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website HERE.
Q: What can I do to help fight against breast cancer and support individuals living with breast cancer?
A: There are many fundraisers, virtual events, and volunteer opportunities throughout the month that you can participate in to help fight against breast cancer. Here are a few examples:
The National Breast Cancer Foundation is sharing empowering stories of breast cancer survivors and those currently living with breast cancer in their "Snapshots of Hope" series all month long. If you or your family has a story to tell, share it HERE. Together we can show those living with breast cancer that they are not alone. The National Breast Cancer Foundation also provides free mammograms and help with navigating the healthcare system, supports indviduals through their treatments, and provides education on breast cancer. You can donate to The National Breast Cancer Foundation HERE.
The American Breast Cancer Foundation provides grants to patients in need of breast cancer screenings and diagnostic services. In total they have provided over 46,300 grants. You can donate to ABCF HERE.
The American Cancer Society invests millions into breast cancer research grants, provides free rides to and from treatments for patients, and provides one-on-one support services to breast cancer patients. You can donate HERE.
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is the largest private funder of metastatic breast cancer research in the world, committing over $27 million to 90 different research projects focusing on metastatic breast cancer. Research is BCRF's main focus, with the goal to prevent and cure breast cancer altogether. Donate to BCRF HERE.
Q: How can I check myself for breast cancer at home?
A: Adults of all ages, particularly females, are encouraged to conduct breast self-exams at least once a month. Around 40 percent of all diagnosed breast cancer cases are discovered by breast self-exams conducted at home.
You can conduct your self-exams in the shower, in front of a mirror, or while you are laying down. Using your three middle fingers check the breast and armpit area by pressing down with light, medium, then firm pressure. Feel for any lumps, thickening, hardened knots, or any other breast changes. If in front of a mirror, raise your arms over your head and check for any changes in contour, swelling, or dimpling in the skin.
Get more information on conducting breast self-exams at home HERE.
Q: What are some early signs of breast cancer that I should look out for?
A: Some early signs of breast cancer include skin changes to the breast/chest area like swelling and redness, and other visible changes including a change in shape/size visible in one or both breasts and/or nipples. Other easily recognizable signs include discharge from nipple discharge that is not breast milk, general pain in any area of the breast, lumps, and noticeable changes in the feel of your breasts when you touch them. You can find more early warning signs of breast cancer on the Cancer Treatment Centers of America website HERE.
Q: What should I do if I suspect that I may be showing signs of breast cancer?
A: If you suspect that you are showing early warning signs of breast cancer, please contact your healthcare provider for guidance immediately. If you have concerns over the healthcare costs of getting a checkup or having a mammogram conducted you can reach out to the following local organizations providing aid to patients navigating the healthcare system for breast cancer.
Adventist Medical Center: Provides free mammograms through The National Breast Cancer Foundation for women who qualify. Ask to see if you qualify today. (LOCAL RESOURCE)
Screenwise Program - Oregon Health Authority: Helps provide life-saving screening programs to low-income, medically uninsured and underserved women in Oregon for early detection of breast and cervical cancer. Call (971) 673-0581 to see if you qualify today. (LOCAL RESOURCE)