October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women. Statistics show that around one in eight women in the U.S. will get breast cancer at some point in their lives.
Women between the ages of 40 to 49 are encouraged to speak with their doctors about when they should start getting mammograms and how often. Women aged 50 to 74 should have mammograms every two years — but you can choose or your doctor can direct you to get them more often based on your family history, body composition, and other risk factors.
Here are some easy ways you can get involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Research local and global charities that are devoted to breast cancer and find one to donate to. If you know someone currently affected by breast cancer, you can do something nice for them. Something simple like bringing them a home-cooked meal or dessert or taking them out for lunch can go a long way towards giving them a mental break and offering some much-needed relief.
Give back to the community as a whole by volunteering this month. Local hospice and palliative care organizations are always looking for volunteers and can even point you in the direction of local organizations specializing in breast cancer support, research, and fundraising.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Common signs of breast cancer include:
- A lump in the breast or armpit area.
- Enlarged pores around the breast or nipple area — commonly described as having the texture of an orange peel.
- Breast dimpling.
- Inverted nipple(s).
- Unexplicable swelling or shrinking of one of the breasts.
- Clear or bloody nipple discharge.
Regularly Perform Self-Breast Exams
In addition to consulting your doctor about mammograms, you should regularly perform and encourage others to do self-breast exams. For more information on how to perform a self-breast exam, click here.
Know the Risk Factors and Share with Others
Prevention and early intervention are key in the fight against breast cancer. Know the risk factors, including gender, age, genetics, lifestyle, and diet. Share information about the risk factors with your friends/family and take steps to prevent the controllable risk factors by eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting at least 30 minutes of exercise three times per week.