October is breast cancer awareness month. Many of you may just know this as the month everyone wears pink ribbons. But what more do you know? You probably know someone who was affected by breast cancer, but do you know what it is or about early detection?
Cancer happens when the DNA in a cell is damaged and then becomes mutated.The mutated cell then reproduces and it continues to reproduce. But what causes it is still mostly unknown. There are risk factors, but anyone can get breast cancer. Early detection is key. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Think about all the women you know, mothers, sisters, aunts, friends, daughters, etc... 1 in 8! That seems like such a high number. But breast cancer is not a women's only cancer. Men also are susceptible to breast cancer, but at a much lower rate. Unfortunately it is known as a women's only cancer, so men have a higher mortality rate.
My aunt is a breast cancer survivor as is a close friend. Last year after finding several lumps in my breasts, I had a moment of what if panic. I had no idea they were there. The doctor found them during a routine exam. I couldn't even feel them or find them until the doctor showed me how to do a proper self examination. The mammogram was inconclusive, so I had to go in for a follow up ultrasound. The mammogram also picked up more lumps. Talk about a nerve wracking week! The ultrasound showed there was nothing to worry about. Fortunately for me all was good and they were just benign. But now they are "tagged" so to speak so going forward we know. In that week of what if, I was online learning everything I could and realized that my situation is actually quite common.
In talking to my friend, she had just had her exam not that long before being diagnosed and was "all good", turns out that wasn't the case. I learned so many stories about women who thought their exams went well only to find out it was just not picked up on the mammogram, or they decided to have the benign cyst removed anyway only to find out that what they were told was nothing was in fact something. But most stories end like mine. Thank goodness. But that just really brought the point home, that we have to learn our bodies and be educated. Knowing what to look for and what to do. Learning to speak you mind at the doctor's. It was the first time I felt that I needed to insist on what I needed from them.
Each October I support breast cancer awareness, especially since my aunts diagnosis when I was 18. (She is doing amazingly well today.) But after my personal experience and being faced with that scary what if, it has definitely taken on a more serious meaning. I want you all to really be aware of the risk factors, how to do a self exam, be confident in contacting your doctor if you have any questions or concerns and getting your annual clinical breast exams and mammograms when you get that age where it is recommended. Women over 40 should have an annual mammogram, unless you have known risk factors, then you should contact your doctor and create a plan.
Each week of October I am going to try and create a mani that will hopefully serve as a reminder to you to become aware of breast cancer and early detection. We also have a special on our site, pick 3 of our 6 pink polishes and get them for $30 ($6 off) and we will donate 10% of the profits to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. But most importantly, please check out their site and become informed, educate yourself and your loved ones. You can also donate, volunteer or sponsor them directly.