With the end of October and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, attention can easily turn to other things – your job, your kids, the daily demands of life. It is important, though, that we do what we can year-round to make strides in the fight against breast cancer.
Commit to Your Breast Health
One important commitment everyone can make is to be vigilant about your breast health throughout the year. Women are much more likely to get breast cancer, but men can get it, too.
Someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer every 2 minutes. That’s approximately 720 people a day. Or in the month of October, approximately 22,320 people who received a breast cancer diagnosis.
Breast cancer is pervasive. Actions we’ve taken over the last few decades have led to significant decreases in deaths from the disease, but we still have work to do.
In the past year, women have delayed their annual screening due to COVID-19, but it is time to get back on track. Women who are due for a mammogram should get it scheduled today. Mammograms are our best tool at finding breast cancers early, but they don’t work if you don’t get them.
And in between mammograms, pay attention to your breasts. Knowing what’s normal for you and your breasts and the eight warning signs of breast cancer is a good way to detect changes that may require medical attention. If something doesn’t look or feel right, tell a doctor.
For those who have been through early-stage breast cancer, pay attention to aches and pains you may feel. Breast cancer can recur so be aware of unexplained and prolonged aches, pains, a cough or other discomfort, so you can let your doctor know without delay.
Breast cancer can’t be prevented. Being born a woman and getting older, two things you can’t control, are the two most common risk factors for breast cancer. But there are things you can do to help lower your risk of breast cancer.
Making healthy choices is important when it comes to your overall health and risk of breast cancer. Studies have shown that maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, regular exercise, limiting postmenopausal hormone use and breastfeeding, if you can, can lower breast cancer risk. Some healthy behaviors are linked to a lower risk of breast cancer recurrence and improved survival. Others are part of a lifestyle linked to a lower risk of other cancers and a lower risk of health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Read more about tips for living a healthy lifestyle.
Commit to Using Your Voice
Another commitment everyone can make is to become an advocate for public policy changes that can make a long-term difference in the lives of people impacted by breast cancer and those who may be one day. Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents to know how important breast cancer legislation is to our community.
There are several pieces of legislation currently pending in Washington, D.C., that provide critical funding for early detection programs, make health and financial benefits available immediately to people living with metastatic breast cancer, and would make diagnostic breast imaging more affordable to those who need it. Komen helps to ensure the voices of the breast cancer community are heard by policymakers at all levels of government.
Learn more and become an advocate today!
Commit to Supporting Direct Patient Support Programs
Direct patient support services are needed year-round.
For those in treatment now, Susan G. Komen’s Patient Care Center provides direct patient support to help people learn more about their diagnosis and treatment plans, navigate the complex health system, gain access to resources, and get support for the emotional and financial impacts of breast cancer. Consider making a gift to support these year-round programs or become a monthly sustaining donor.
Help Fund Critical Research
While we’ve learned a lot about treating breast cancers over the years, we still have more to learn. Research is critical to better understanding aggressive and deadly breast cancers that have fewer treatment options.
For those living with metastatic breast cancer, research is the only hope to living longer, better-quality lives. Komen was able to fund $1.5 million in research grants for metastatic research in October but there is much more work to do. Every therapy will eventually fail someone living with metastatic breast cancer, which is why innovation and new discoveries are key to ensuring the next therapy will be there.
Every dollar makes it possible to fund ideas that might be the next breakthrough discovery or treatment in breast cancer care.
Join Susan G. Komen in making a year-round commitment to doing what you can to prioritize breast health and support those who have been impacted by breast cancer. Together, we can get closer to a world without breast cancer.