Every October, as we usher in the fall season with warm drinks and cozy sweaters, we also observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While we should definitely be vigilant about breast health throughout the year, this is a great opportunity to renew this commitment to self-exams and screenings.
When I was a young girl, I accompanied my grandmother and her mother, my great-grandmother, to a regular doctor’s appointment. While she was sitting on the examination table undressing, my grandmother noticed a lump literally hanging from one of her mother’s breasts. She immediately alerted the nurses and, instead of a routine checkup, my great-grandmother was scheduled for a biopsy.
She had breast cancer.
After having one breast removed, I watched my grandmother care for her. I wasn’t even 10 years old but I can still remember being so shocked the first time I saw her without bandages. I remember how carefully my beautiful grandmother cared for her mother’s wounds. Most of all, I remember my great-grandmother saying she couldn’t care less if that breast was gone. All that mattered was that she was alive. She lived another five years.
It’s a scary topic for a lot of women and, unfortunately, too many of us avoid talking about breast cancer out of fear—but knowledge is power. Don’t keep yourself in the dark on such an important issue, especially if you’re over 35 years old.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation is a fantastic hub of information. You can sign up for a free copy of the Know The Symptoms guide, join one of their programs, read through online resources or watch compelling, educational videos.
There are many ways that you can get involved in the fight against breast cancer. In addition to donating to research, you can help provide HOPE kits filled with thoughtful items for patients or promote breast cancer awareness in the workplace, among other things.
You can also take the huge, potentially life-saving step of covering the cost of a mammogram for a woman who cannot otherwise afford one.
October is the perfect month to celebrate the lives of the strong, amazing women (and men!) who have fought breast cancer. Whether you see a video on social media or have a testimony from your own life, sharing these stories on your own timeline. Not only will you acknowledge a warrior but you will be also raising awareness. It’s a win-win.
Remember that breast cancer can happen to both men and women and can strike at any age. Talk to your health professional if you have concerns, perform self-exams monthly and undergo screenings on a schedule based on your age and level of risk.
It’s a scary topic but avoiding it won’t make it go away. It’s better to be proactive and informed than to be blindsided by the unexpected. Take charge of your life and help others do the same. For the month of October, commit to raising awareness about breast cancer. You could save a life!