Since October is both the month of Halloween and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the often overlooked but still scary truths about this deadly disease. Many of us probably know of someone affected by breast cancer and if that person was a closed loved one we know how difficult it can be. During these difficult times, it can also be discouraging to know the shocking statistics of breast cancer, and though both women and men can be diagnosed with breast cancer I will be focusing more on women.
In the United States alone there are projected to be 276,000 new cases of breast cancer in women and about 42,170 deaths.
These may be shocking numbers. But, it is also important to note the many different factors that need to be considered when analyzing these numbers. The mortality rate is heavily dependent on both stages at which the treatment was diagnosed, the effectiveness of treatment, and even race and ethnicity. “Black women have the highest mortality rate whereas Asian and Pacific Islander women have the least”.
So what are some of the main causes of breast cancer?
Some things that can contribute to the risk of breast cancer include but are not limited to: A poor diet lacking nutrients provided by fruits and vegetables. A lack of physical exercise. As well as frequent alcohol consumption and excessive radiation to your chest area. Unlike what we probably were told caffeine, antiperspirants, microwaves, cell phones, and plastic are not carcinogenic.
Another factor that can increase your risk of diagnosis is genetics. If your mom or grandmother had breast cancer that does not mean you are at risk necessarily. That is because some strands of breast cancer are not genetic. Perhaps you are concerned about the possibility of carrying the cancer gene testing. There is a chance that the results are not completely accurate. If you have a family history of breast cancer, but the genetic results were negative, you can air on the side of caution by simply getting annual breast screens.
If diagnosed with breast cancer there are many organizations available to help you and your family along the way.
These can also include support groups and luncheons you can find in your communities. Breast Cancer unlike Halloween does not have to be scary. It is important to know about your family’s medical history. As well as knowing if there is anything you can do. This could be to reduce your risk such as eating healthier and exercising more. For more information, you can visit the websites posted below. Also, if you would like to donate to fund Breast Cancer research the link will be below as well.
For a personal experience dealing with cancer, check out Living with a Cancer Patient During COVID-19.