Now imagine one of these women coming down with breast cancer.
Did your heart sink? Breast cancer is extremely prevalent, affecting 1 in 8 women over the course of their lifetime. That number sounds abstract until you start attaching names to the eight women closest to you, and then it hits home.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and today on Wednesday on the Web, I'd like to pay tribute to this. It seems like nowadays there is a month for everything, and most times I ignore them, but breast cancer awareness is something I just can't ignore.
You see, my grandmother battled breast cancer. She was a beautiful woman, as you can see. An amazing cook, seamstress, quilter and an avid reader, my grandmother was one of my heroes growing up. Because of breast cancer, she had a double mastectomy. This saved her life, but at a terrible cost to her health.
My grandmother is one of the eight women closest to me and I know what a price she paid to breast cancer. I don't want any of the other women close to me to have to fight this battle. Fortunately, there is hope.
While it is the most commonly occurring cancer in women, there is a high success rate of beating it back if it is discovered in its early stages. In fact, 95% of women are able to beat the cancer within five years if it is discovered early on. That means the biggest key to fighting breast cancer is early detection, and that's where awareness comes in.
The more women know about breast cancer and how early detection can help protect them, the better the chances we have of keeping the women in our lives safe (including yourself). There are some simple things you can do. Of course, you should be doing a regular self-check breast exam, checking for lumps or unusual changes. For women over 40, mammograms are recommended every one to two years. A mammogram uses X-rays to look for unusual growths, which could signal breast cancer.
There are so many organizations who join in on Breast Cancer Awareness. Here are a few that have caught my eye.
- Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. This is the hospital my wife was born at and they really get into breast cancer awareness. Currently, they are sponsoring a campaign to collect pledges from people to support breast cancer awareness. Even if you don't live in Utah, you can still join in with them. You can sign their pledge and be entered to win their weekly giveaway (including pink makeup kits, lotion and blow dryers). You can also use one of their Breast Cancer Awareness badges and replace your Facebook profile picture with it for the month of October. They have eight really cool designs and they're free. You can see two of their badges on this site.
- The NFL. For years, the National Football League has showed its softer side by arming its players with all sorts of pink paraphernalia. You can see what each team is doing to support breast cancer awareness here. You can also buy all sorts of pink NFL gear (which fits your style and will make your husband happy).
- NASCAR. It's surprising how many sports programs are big in to supporting breast cancer awareness, but I think it's great. NASCAR is currently sponsoring a T-shirt contest where you can vote on your favorite breast cancer awareness T-shirt design and be entered to win their giveaway.
- Marvel Comics. Seriously. Marvel has released a series of Breast Cancer Awareness comic book covers, featuring some of their favorite characters decked out in pink. Check them out. Pink Iron Man anyone?
Find some way to show your support for breast cancer awareness this month. Let's change our color imagery of October from black and orange to a month of pink.
Do you have a personal story of how breast cancer has affected you or a loved one? Share it with us. And share any other things you do to support breast cancer awareness.