Breast Cancer Awareness Month, otherwise known as Pink October, is the perfect opportunity to inform and get us talking about cancer, without fear or prejudice.
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. Widespread use of screening, along with treatment advances in recent years, have been credited with significant reductions in breast cancer mortality.
I’d like to present some myths around breast cancer first:
THE BREAST CANCER MYTHS
- Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.
Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer. But if you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, it should never be ignored. It is very important that you see a physician for a clinical breast exam. He or she may possibly order breast imaging studies to determine if this lump is of concern or not.
Take charge of your health by performing routine breast self-exams, establishing ongoing communication with your doctor, getting an annual clinical breast exam, and scheduling your routine screening mammograms.
- Men do not get breast cancer; it affects women only.
Quite the contrary, each year it is estimated that approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die. While this percentage is still small, men should also check themselves periodically by doing a breast self-exam while in the shower and reporting any changes to their physicians.Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola. Men carry a higher mortality than women do, primarily because awareness among men is less and they are less likely to assume a lump is breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking treatment.
- A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread.
A mammogram, or x-ray of the breast, currently remains the gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer. Breast compression while getting a mammogram cannot cause cancer to spread. According to the National Cancer Institute, “The benefits of mammography, however, nearly always outweigh the potential harm from the radiation exposure. Mammograms require very small doses of radiation. The risk of harm from this radiation exposure is extremely low.”
The standard recommendation is an annual mammographic screening for women beginning at age 40. Base your decision on your physician’s recommendation and be sure to discuss any remaining questions or concerns you may have with your physician.
Read the full USPSTF report here .
So how can you help?
WHAT IS THE PINK RIBBON PLEDGE™?
The Pink Ribbon Pledge™ is a powerful way to make a real difference in the fight against breast cancer in three different ways: clicking every day to give women in need mammograms, joining to fund vital breast cancer research, and spreading awareness about simple ways to fight breast cancer every day. The Pink Ribbon Pledge is a way to remember to click, and ask friends and family to join you in pledging to click every day at The Breast Cancer Site, increasing our impact in the battle.
The Pink Ribbon Pledge™ is powered by The Breast Cancer Site, where you can click every single day to help fund mammograms for women in need. Your clicks are always FREE.
HOW DOES THE PINK RIBBON PLEDGE™ FIGHT BREAST CANCER?
Pledge to click: Your pledge to click every day at The Breast Cancer Site means that you are personally helping to fund mammograms for women in need. Every free click provides more funding for free mammograms. Imagine the incredible difference we can make if thousands of people agree to take just a moment of time, every single day, to click to fight breast cancer.
Fund research: The Breast Cancer Site has also made a pledge – to you, and to all breast cancer survivors and supporters. When 100,000 people take the pledge to click every day, The Breast Cancer Site will make a donation of $10,000 to Mayo Clinic to fund breast cancer research. Together, we can work toward a cure.
Spread the word: The fight against breast cancer is everywhere today, with individuals and companies taking up the cause. Everyone knows what the pink ribbon is, but not everyone knows the details – early detection is key, there are different kinds of breast cancer, and it can happen to young women, older women, and even men. In addition, not everyone knows that there’s a quick and easy way to fight breast cancer every single day – absolutely free. So spreading the word about clicking at The Breast Cancer Site is another way to help even more.
If you have questions about breast cancer, go to The National Breast Cancer FAQ for more information.
Material on this page was taken from the National Cancer Institute / National Breast Cancer Site.