As the leaves begin to change and the air begins to cool, signs of October are everywhere. One of the more subtle tells of October is the strand of pink that soon fills one’s surroundings to promote Breast Cancer Awareness.
While the pink on jerseys and ribbons in girls’ hair are lovely, it is important to remember the severity of breast cancer. While many think they cannot develop breast cancer, the reality is breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, developing in one in eight women in her lifetime, according to the National Breast Cancer Organization.
As a college student the threat of cancer is rarely a worry. There is a sense of immunity on college campuses that allows students to forget to take care of themselves. However, keeping watch over one’s body is a good habit to develop and may one day stop cancer in its tracks.
“As a female, raising awareness for breast cancer is really important to me,” Casey Trimm ‘20 said. “Sometimes people don’t realize how important it is to keep talking about the issue until we have a cure. It’s scary to think that one day breast cancer can change your life.”
Self examinations are the easiest and quickest way to keep track of one’s body and health. While other tests may be more reliable, such as mammograms or clinic examinations, John Hopkins Center states, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”
To give a self breast exam, all one has to do is get to know her body. Self exams should be given once a month in the shower, in front of a mirror, and laying down. Any change in color, shape, or size is something to take note of, and especially if one feels a lump.
“Women should perform their breast self exam 7-10 days after their menstrual period starts which is also when their breasts are the least tender and lumpy,” the National Breast Cancer Organization stated. “What to look for is a change from last month’s exam to this month’s exam. It is not unusual to have lumpy or bumpy breasts.”
Breast cancer is not something that affects just older women, but the younger generation as well.
The idea of developing breast cancer can be scary, but it is all the more reason to take the necessary and simple precautions. Even if one does notice a change in his or her body, there is no reason to panic.
“If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or any changes, it is very important that you see a physician immediately. Though 8 out of 10 lumps are benign, all require evaluation to confirm that they are not cancerous,” the National Breast Cancer Organization shared.
This October, when you see those pink ribbons, remember the thousands of women and men dealing with breast cancer. Remind yourself how important self examinations are and to support those who have been diagnosed.