October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it is important to be aware of the risks and signs of this disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, over 250,000 women in the US have been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2022 alone. In men, that number was a little over 2,500 representing about 1% of total cases in women.
To help celebrate this year, we’re giving you five ways you can broaden your breast cancer awareness.
Know the Movement
Today there are many organizations have stepped up to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research. Below is one, in particular, that has a tremendous impact on the cosmetics industry.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) is a leading organization that advocates for making beauty and personal care products safer for all. CSC works to educate the public about the dangers of toxic chemicals in cosmetics, compelling the industry to make products safer. CSC also advocates for health-protective laws that would benefit everyone regardless of where they live, work, or shop.
Know the Facts
To boost your breast cancer awareness, it is important to keep up with the recent facts about breast cancer. Below are some statistics you should be aware of.
- Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast mutate (or change) and grow uncontrollably.
- Early detection is the best way to minimize the risks of cancer fatalities. The American Cancer Society estimates that 42% of all cancer cases are attributed to “potentially modifiable risk factors.”
- The older you get, the more risk you have for developing breast cancer. 30% of men diagnosed with breast cancer, were diagnosed in their 60s, and The National Cancer Institute estimates that the diagnosis of women with breast cancer occurs at an average age of 62.
- Men can get breast cancer, too. In fact, a little over 2,500 men in the U.S. were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2022. In men, breast cancer usually presents as invasive ductal carcinomas, where cancer develops within the milk ducts of the breast.
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, representing a staggering 30% of all cancers found in women.
- Breast cancer isn’t always fatal. An estimated 97.4% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are survivors. In fact, between 2013 and 2018, there has been a decrease of 1% each year in women over the age of 50 who have lost the battle to breast cancer.
Know the Signs
Early detection of breast cancer is contingent on learning the signs and some are easy to detect. Both men and women should look for these signs and seek medical attention if any are detected:
- a hard or immovable lump in the breast area
- pain, when the breast is manipulated
- any nipple discharge not related to women breastfeeding
- puffiness or swelling in the breast
- dimpling or a change of texture around the breast
- underarm swelling near the lymph nodes
Know Your Genetics
Genetics can play a role in developing breast cancer. If you have a family member who has had breast cancer, you may be at a higher risk for developing the disease. These inherited genes are called BRCA1 and BRCA2. If you have a mutation in either of these genes, your risk of developing breast cancer is higher.
Know How to Limit Risk
Certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and being overweight, can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Women with a high body mass index (BMI) are more likely to develop breast cancer than women within an ideal weight range. Men can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by not drinking alcohol and staying at a healthy weight.
But that’s not all. Did you know certain foods contain powerful cancer-fighting properties? Here are just a few you can add to your diet to help stave off or limit the growth of cancer:
Apparently, an apple a day can potentially stop triple-negative breast cancer, or TNBC, from growing. Apples contain a powerful ingredient called polyphenol phloretin, which can “potentially suppress TNBC tumor cell growth” and limit its ability to spread.
Soybeans with Cruciferous Vegetables
Scientists have found that a combination of the genistein, found in soybeans, with the sulforaphane, found in cruciferous vegetables like kale and broccoli, are very effective in stopping the formation of cancerous tumors.
The beta-carotene, found in carrots, has been proven to reduce the risk of cancer in the breast and prostate. In fact, beta-carotene has been found to reduce the probability of getting breast cancer again, if you’ve already had it.
The substances in walnuts, called pedunculagin, are metabolized into urolithins by the body. Urolithins are compounds that bind to estrogen receptors and could potentially help to prevent breast cancer.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, there are many resources available to help. Use these tips and resources to help boost your breast cancer awareness this year.
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Top 5 Ways to Broaden Your Breast Cancer Awareness this October was originally published in Think Dirty on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.