Boo! It’s October and it is a COVID-19 social distancing Halloween nightmare! But did you know it is also still national Breast Cancer Awareness month? While Halloween is only celebrated practically one cool evening this month, Breast Cancer Awareness is celebrated every day all day for an entire whooping 31 days this whole month! My goodness — that’s a lot a time dedicated to making people aware of breast cancer, why do we need to spend that much time on this somewhat “icky” topic? Well to lighten up the mood let at least get out our pink ribbons, possibly join a 5-mile walk or two, put on those pretty Victoria Secret Pink jogging pants you have nowhere else to wear except to an all-pink event. I sure we all have something pink in our closet to put on every day this month, pink clothes always made my pink kissable lips stand out just a little bit more, I am glad we have an excuse to wear every cute shade of pink out there this month.
Breast cancer awareness has been ongoing for decades and it is always helpful to review this topic to keep totally clear in our heads what we need to be doing to help our breasts and each other breasts healthy. Especially now that we are all so busy with keeping up with COVID-19 than the Kardashians, people can easily forget our basic preventative health measures.
Let’s get to the facts with a quick Q and A.
1. What is breast cancer?
We call our cells “cancer cells” when they grow abnormally in our bodies. When we find these cells in the breast, we call it “Breast Cancer.” There are different kinds of breast cancers. Some are more serious than others. There are tests that can be ordered by a certified health care professional that can walk with you through figuring all this out.
2. I am a young woman, do I need to care about this now?
Though Breast cancer is mostly reported in women over age 45, there are some rare cases in young women. Some women may have multiple family members who have breast cancer in which a certified health care provider may recommend to monitor you just a little more closely.
3. As a young woman, I am busy with work, school, and many other things, What are some easy tips keep my breast healthy?
Breast development in most girls occurs in their teens. When you see your certified health provider that you try to see a least once a year, you can bring up to the provider the topic of how to exam your breasts by yourself at home to screen for breast cancer. Typically a health care provider, with your permission, of course, will examine your breasts, point out what they observe is normal or abnormal about your breasts. Then if your comfortable you can go home and try this on yourself. In the office, it may be done on a patient examination table, but at home for privacy girls may feel more comfortable looking and feeling their breasts in the shower for lumps, bumps, and/or pain. They typically do this during right before they feel/know they are having their period where you can feel for these things the best.
4. How can I help myself and others in the fight against breast cancer?
Try examining your breasts at home, but if you feel uncomfortable, ask a certified health care provider your comfortable with to help you. A doctor who is a Pediatrician, Family Practitioner, Internal Medicine Doctor, OB-GYN, a Physician Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner in that field may be more familiar with this type of exam than other certified health care providers because they do this often in their practice. Many times a nurse working in that field is also very knowledgeable and can very much help answer questions about this. Tell your loved ones — your younger sister, your mom, aunt, grandma your girlfriends to do the same. Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month every October and join in the activities led by reputable organizations such as the American Cancer Society or Centers of Disease Control (CDC).
5. Can guys get breast cancer too?
Yes, men can get breast cancer. There are several things that could add to a man’s risk of developing breast cancer is getting older, genetic mutations, family history of breast cancer, some prescribed medications, injury to the testicles, liver disease, being overweight. If breast development and cancer are related to prescribed medication, most likely a certified health professional has discussed with your loved one the risks/benefits of medication before starting it. It can always just be helpful for the men in your life you love to review the medications they are on and go over any unwanted side effect/adverse effect. You can review them with a certified health professional and or consider having a nice talk with your local pharmacist.
- American Cancer Society website.
- CDC “Breast Cancer”.
- World Health Organization.
Written by Bhartiben Patel MD for Kiira Health. Dr. Patel is a physician from FL and who is currently on maternity leave. She lives in FL with her husband and two kids ages 5 and 3 months.
“I have no financial disclosures that could make a detrimental effect on the content above.”