Breast cancer is no longer the death sentence it used to be. There is so much research out there, and so many amazing survivor testimonials and effective preventative measures that have helped women all around the world.
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and as with any disease, awareness can save a life. We’ve compiled a list of facts every woman should know, warning signs to watch out for, some groups that will help you realize you’re not in this alone, and ways you can make a difference. Let’s work together to become warriors who prevail in this important fight against breast cancer!
Nine facts every woman should know:
• Women who started their periods before age 12, along with those who never had children after age 30, are more likely to develop breast cancer.
• Breastfeeding has been found to lower the risk of breast cancer development.
• Vitamin A, along with phytoestrogens found in soy and Vitamins E and C, are all linked to fighting breast cancer.
• One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, meaning by age 85.
• Nearly 80 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
• Avoid radiation: thermography is painless, non-invasive, and radiation-free.
• Race plays a part: Caucasian and African American women have the highest breast cancer incidence overall, while American Indian/Alaska Native women have the lowest.
• Certain types of hormonal birth control can increase your risk of breast cancer.
• Eighty percent of breast lumps are not cancerous.
If you experience any of these warning signs, pay a visit to your health care provider:
• Scaling of the skin on the breast or nipple.
• Swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening of the breast.
• Change in the size or shape of the breast.
• Dimpling or puckering of the skin.
• Pulling in of the nipple or other parts of the breast, or nipple discharge that starts suddenly.
• A lump or hard knot, or thickening inside the breast or underarm area.
Five ways to remind you that you are NOT ALONE:
• The American Cancer Society Helpline: (800) 227-2345. Offers 24/7 assistance: emotional support groups; information through specialists; assistance with travel lodging related to treatment; treatment transportation assistance in your area. They also host a special program for breast cancer patients called Reach to Recovery that offers one-on-one peer support via the web, phone, or in person.
• The Care Project, Inc.: (951) 742-7405. Offers support services for men and women of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties: phone calls and home visits; one-on-one support; monthly luncheon meet-ups.
• Susan G. Komen: (877) GO-KOMEN. Support helpline for anyone diagnosed with breast cancer.
• Support Sisterz: (951) 314-9246. Group and one-on-one support in Norco, Corona, and Eastvale.
• Cancer Support Group Chino Hills: (909) 740-3398. Weekly meetings with light refreshments, with a focus on the emotions associated with a cancer diagnosis.
Six ways you can make a difference:
• Become a volunteer. Many organizations provide service and support groups, and they need your help.
• Donate to an organization that supports the cause.
• Assist with research. There are online initiatives that would appreciate your help enrolling women in online surveys and clinical studies.
• Donate your time to a friend, family member, or co-worker who is struggling with a cancer diagnosis. A little love goes a long way.
• If you’re a survivor, consider becoming an advocate to spread awareness in your community.
• Take care of yourself: follow up with check-ups, exercise, eat healthy, and perform
self-exams often. W