Here is an article about breast cancer awareness and various ways to help the cause. Written by Robyn Watts.
With one in eight women developing invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, you probably know someone who has been through this disease. However, until recently, the disease was seen as taboo and was rarely discussed in polite conversation. After all, without her mammary glands, a woman wasn’t quite as womanly, right? Wrong!
Women began to “come out of the closet” to proudly make their presence as survivors known to the world and to demand that research and medical assistance receive the proper funding that it deserved. The efforts of these strong women have raised millions of dollars, changed public policy and, perhaps most importantly, changed public opinion. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and there are simple things we can all do to help keep the legacy of these women alive.
• Donate your time, your hair and even a little bit of yourself. Chemotherapy and Interferon are exhausting and wreak devastating damage on the body. This month, perhaps offer your sick neighbor the occasional ride to the hospital or volunteer with local organizations to deliver food to those who can barely get out of bed.
Many women lose their hair because of the treatment, so consider donating your long locks to brighten someone’s day with a wig, or your knitting abilities to keep someone’s head fashionable and warm during the winter. Finally, consider donating blood at your local hospital, knowing that it can very well serve a cancer patient in need of a transfusion.
• The pink ribbon has become the most recognized symbol for breast cancer support. During this month, perhaps tie a pink ribbon around your wrist to praise the survivors, honor those we lost and lend emotional support to those who are currently facing this disease head-on. If you would like to take this a step further, consider buying merchandise that sport the iconic ribbon from companies that donate part of the proceeds to the cause.
If you do a little digging, you’ll be surprised by what you can find – everything from luxury lip balm and bridesmaids gifts, to greeting cards and drinks on airlines. If you would like to get your friends involved, consider having a “pink-themed tea party” to help raise donations and awareness, complete with pink lemonade, pink scones, pink flowers and, of course, pink dresses.
• Show your moral support at local events that involve breast cancer survivors. A prime example is International Breast Cancer Paddler’s Commission, an organization that involves thousands of women training to compete in Dragon Boat competitions. Such associations transcend being merely a group of women playing a sport – they provide survivors with a united community and the opportunity to be inspired by their own strong spirit and physically capabilities. Investigate whether there are any sports teams in your area and root them on as they go for the win.
• Start examining your breasts and talk to your doctor about your family history – if relatives have a history of breast cancer, your physician might recommend that you begin having routine mammograms earlier than you expected. While there is no specifically agreed upon age about when most women should begin receiving mammograms, most doctors agree that the process should begin between forty to fifty years old. Don’t underestimate this procedure’s importance, as early detection and treatment limit the spread of the malignant growth and greatly increase your odds.