While Breast Cancer is something that all of our warriors experience and fight for every day, October is an opportunity to spread this awareness on an even high level and open the world's eyes to what this disease really is.
Hello, warriors! Welcome back to the blog and welcome back to part two of our blog discussing what breast cancer awareness means to us. While we are rapidly approaching the end of October and the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we hope you know how incredibly proud we are of each of you. We know this year's difficult situation has prevented us from doing what we all normally like to do to spread awareness, raise money, and gather with our fellow fighters, supporters, and warriors. 2020 can't cancel our hope, our fight, our journey, or the color pink. We all continue to stand in solidarity together, continue to fight together, and support one another. We know this year might be weighing heavy on you and your family, but please believe us when we say that we understand and we are with you. Please continue on your journey, continue with your fight, and continue using your story to prepare and educate others. Your fight can be a light in the darkness for others and for the rest of 2020 and beyond. Have you been feeling at a loss this month, that you haven't found your voice in this battle, that you're not giving back enough or doing enough? Don't be discouraged. Your voice and everything you're doing every day speaks volumes. To help give our own bit of help and support for the rest of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and beyond, we wanted to create a blog on how to make everyday Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Your voice, your journey, and how you choose to handle and battle your diagnosis is a testament in itself. Even if you aren't particularly vocal or you don't share your experience in a blog or through social media, that doesn't mean your journey doesn't impact others. When you go in for your treatments, consider the people sitting around you. This could be their very first or very last treatment. A kind smile, sharing your experiences with them, or just being a positive presence within this little snapshot of time can cause a ripple effect to those battling around you. How youR battle progresses also doesn't go unnoticed by your doctor or nurses. They find comfort, inspiration, and drive from how hard you fight and in the relationship you build together.
Your journey and battle can bring you closer to your loved ones than ever before and can create a bond that you never expected. How you live in your survivorship and how you share your experiences with a new friend or coworker leaves an impression too. Don't think you have to shout from the rooftops and put yourself in the spotlight if you don't want to. Every step of your journey affects someone. If you want to be public about your experience, that is a welcomed expression too. Writing a blog, documenting your experiences on Facebook or Instagram, being a mentor to someone recently diagnosed, participating in group meetings, and more can also help others and raise awareness. No matter how you chose to share and express your experience, both are just as important and beneficial as the other.
There are many steps you and your loved ones can take to promote awareness throughout the entire year, here are some tips and suggestions to make that possible.
We know that your voice is important. Each of your individual stories is worth telling, saving, and sharing. We know that awareness and what we need to cure breast cancer isn't at the level that it deserves and what it should be. Every day we are fighting to make your voices louder, the cure closer, and helping to educate the world about this horrible disease. While so much of the world just sees Breast Cancer Awareness Month as pink ribbons and fundraisers, we see your stories, your pain, your frustrations, and all that you go through every day. Let us stand together to make Breast Cancer Awareness month more than just a month, and finally beat this disease once and for all.
Every day is breast cancer awareness month, but October is when we all turn pink. During this month, we celebrate those who have fought, those who have lost, and those who stand beside us. One day at a time, we are trying to save as many lives as possible!
Hello, warriors! As you know, October has dawned and brought in Breast Cancer Awareness month. We know this is a daily fight and battle for you and your loved ones, but October brings your reality into the light of the rest of the world. You finally get the attention you deserve, and you really get to share the truth about breast cancer and how truly devastating it is right in front of the eyes of the public. We wish breast cancer, the need for a cure, and the battle you all fight could get this kind of attention every day and every month. Since we only have one month, we are going to make the most of it. It's time to educate, spread the world, and share your truth. Remember that we see you, we support you, we hear you, and we will be here for you every step of your battle!
According to the Susan G. Komen foundation, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, 115 lives are lost to metastatic breast cancer every day, and 2 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. What's even more shocking than those numbers is the fact that each of these statistics is still a surprise to millions of people every day. It's still a shock that it is more common to be diagnosed with cancer before you turn 40 than most people realize, and it is still possible to be diagnosed with cancer during your pregnancy. While these are all topics we have touched on many times in our blogs, across our social media, and as much as we possibly can in our offices, it's still not enough. That is why we must continue to raise awareness every day.
This is the perfect time to use your voice and your story to educate others in realizing their chances of getting breast cancer and what signs they need to be looking for. Use your survivorship to spread the word about early education and to promote self-breast exams from a young age. While this is a battle that you wage every day, when October rolls around, it's time to turn that fight in a new direction. The world needs to hear your stories and your truth, and you deserve to be heard. October goes beyond wearing pink. We are finally getting the opportunity to fight publicly and with the public's attention. To all of our warriors, we are so sorry that you don't get this kind of support and attention every day, and every month, you deserve it. Your fight and the struggles your family goes through every day deserves to be more than a trending hashtag for 31 days that casually gets overlooked by Halloween. Let us join together to change this and continue to spread information out into the world together, and to finally cure this horrible and devastating disease!
While we are standing strong together spreading awareness and teaching about the importance of early detection, what else can we do this month and beyond to make the most out of breast cancer awareness month, outside of wearing our pink tags? Obviously, because of the current pandemic, this year might look a little different. We might not be able to gather like we have been used to. We might not be able to cheer each other on or walk for our loved ones in person or in big crowds, but that doesn't mean you can't make the most of this month and still support the future of the breast cancer cure. We have been doing our research and listening to all of you on how we can continue to support one another. One of the first resources we stumbled upon was Breast Cancer Now. This incredible foundation, set in the UK, will give you an incredible outside look at what the world is doing to help all of us achieve our common goal of curing breast cancer. They have an incredible social media presence and an incredible website. In years past, we might not have been able to attend some of their events, but the silver lining is that thanks to the wonders of the internet and needing to stay home for our safety - we can join together and be a stronger community than ever before. Make sure to visit their website by following the link below!
They also have two very important and inspiring ways of getting involved in your community that were so inspiring to us that we had to share. These fantastic ideas are all things that you can do right now here in the US and that will both be a wonderful addition to our fight this month and beyond. These events are all inspired by their "press play" platform, and we just think it's outstanding. So let's sit back and press play together!
Have you been feeling like you're not giving back enough, doing enough, or that you haven't found the right voice of action for your personal path? That's okay! This month we are going to continue to share more ideas on how all of our warriors and their loved ones can give back, keep fighting, and how to bring awareness into everyday life - and not just in October! Be well out there, we know that you're fighting hard. You are not alone in this, and you never will be!
When dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis, one of the first things you'll have to deal with head-on is what is true and what is false in the information available to you. Just like any medical diagnosis, you will come across myths and falsehoods that need to be debunked right away. Today we are going to be tackling the top three most common myths about breast cancer.
Hello, Warriors! We hope this blog finds you well and fighting hard. We hope you are keeping up the hope in yourself and your treatment. If no one has told you recently, you are incredible. You are getting up every day and facing every challenge head-on. With how this year has turned out, that is truly an amazing feat. We are constantly blown away by your journies, strength, and how you balance your everyday professional and personal lives while going through treatment and recovery. We are in awe of you and are inspired by you every day. Keep up the incredible work, we believe in you.
Out of everything that you've already been dealing with and what you're going through, one thing you should never have to deal with is incorrect information and myths. We are the biggest proponents of education and early detection, but we also want to eliminate any fear or misinformation due to old wives' tales or poor information that has turned into what seems like it could be true facts. To deal with this, we want to discuss and debunk some of the most common myths about breast cancer.
Myth #1: If I don't have breast cancer in my family history I won't get it; If I do have breast cancer in my family I will get it.
We wanted to roll this into one myth because to a point both myths are incorrect. It is true that if your family's medical history does include breast cancer you will be at a higher risk, but this doesn't mean you will for sure get breast cancer. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, only about 13% of women who have breast cancer had a direct relative who was also diagnosed with breast cancer. Also, please be aware that even if breast cancer hasn't been in your family history, this does not mean you won't get it. Breast cancer will appear when it wants to and can happen to anyone at any age. According to BreastCancer.org, most people who do get breast cancer have no family history of it at all, which means other factors besides heredity are most likely the cause. These other factors could be your environment or your lifestyle.
Myth #2 Wearing a bra with an underwire, wearing deodorant, carrying a cellphone in your bra, or using a cell phone can all cause breast cancer.
Please remain calm, if you do any or all of these things, there is nothing to worry about. Keep wearing a bra if you want, use it as a handy pocket for your phone when you need to, put on your deodorant in the morning, and keep up with your nighttime scrolls. None of these statements have actual scientific proof that links them to causing breast cancer. Although, some are still being studied to see if there is a link that could have been overlooked. According to the Susan G. Koman foundation, there are certain chemicals found in certain antiperspirants and deodorants that, "can enter the skin and cause changes that could lead to cancer". Even with that knowledge, there is still no direct link between the two. There is also no direct link between how you use or carry your cell phone that links either activity to breast cancer. There is also no increased risk of getting breast cancer connected to using your phone for long periods.
Myth #3: When you have breast cancer, a lump always forms so you know it's there.
This is very untrue. While discovering a lump can indeed be a sign of breast cancer, our last blog should be proof enough that one lump does not automatically mean you have breast cancer. Actually, most lumps are not connected to breast cancer at all. Sometimes there are no warning signs, while some are slight or drastic physical changes that you can see. Some cancers don't form a lump at all. Any change to the breast that is abnormal for your body could potentially be a sign of the early stages of cancer. When you do notice something, your doctor needs to be alerted right away!
It's easy to get caught up in everything you hear when you're dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. You want to have something to blame for what you're going through, you want to justify why you have it, and to know what caused it in the first place. Sometimes these answers won't be easy ones to find if you can even find them at all. Do your research, talk to your care team, and try to avoid anyone who thinks they've heard something to share with you. Leave the myths at the door! Be well out there, we know that you're fighting hard. You are not alone in this, and you never will be!
It's December already, how did that happen? Have you heard so many holiday greetings that you're going green in the face? Happy December! How ironic is that sentiment? The world around you is moving fast in Christmas trees, holiday lights, family gatherings, mountains of food, and holiday activities. But where does that leave you? We know a lot of people, especially this time of year, wouldn't come out and say this. But we will. When was the last time you were able to enjoy those things? When was the last time you went to a family gathering without dread or fear of being exhausted? How many festivals, plays, and fun holiday activities have you already missed because of the fight you're waging constantly? We realize with Christmas and many other holidays coming and going, it might not be a very happy time for you. A lot of people use the end of a new year and the exciting dawning of a new one as a time of hope, excitement, and starting a list of resolutions. But for you, it might be a different story.
It's hard to start a new year with hope when you're just hoping to get through another day. It's hard to have hope because you don't want it to be the last one with your loved ones. It's hard not to think that the end of this year might be the end of time, the end of life, or that you're running out of time. You might be focusing so hard on trying to make everything look and seem normal that you're overcompensating with buying more, doing more, and trying to be more. You're trying to make this time count. We understand that a new year for you doesn't necessarily mean new beginnings. It might mean the end of so many of your beginnings, your fight, your journey. The pink ribbons fade, you're tired of hearing the same news from your doctors and nurses, and you just want life to get back to normal. We want you to know that you're not alone. You might be tired, but you are worthy. You've gotten up time after time when you've fallen. You've kept going for your loved ones, for yourself, and sometimes maybe even out of spite. This year as you start decorating for the holidays - or decide not to celebrate at all - know that your silent thoughts, fears, heartache, and loneliness are not unheard or unfelt.
We respect that what this blog might offer might not be what you need or want to hear. Know that we respect your journey and someone is out there with the same weight on their heart as yours. The holidays are hard, there is no doubt about that. The stress of the holidays causes many people to get sick. Those with breast cancer will be affected by this stress much harder than the rest. Warriors, we know this might be your last holiday. The thought weighs on you that your families might not have you for the next. You could be worrying and thinking of other families who have lost their loved ones before this holiday. You might be worrying about who will take care of the little details and the special things that make this time of year special for your family. You might be thinking that you don't want them to think about a holiday without you, or about losing you in general.
But the holidays are still coming, nothing is stopping that. You want to enjoy them, but how can you bake or cook your favorite holiday meals when you can't eat? How can you enjoy going out and celebrating when this last treatment kicked you down? What about wrapping gifts, hanging ornaments, or playing in the snow when your hands and feet aren't working like they normally do, thanks to your chemo? Try and remember that this is your time now. Be gentle. Accept where you are today and where it will lead you tomorrow. Get rest, don't make hard plans, and know it's ok to skip out on a tradition or two. Talk about what you need and what you don't need. Throw out the "should be's" the "expectations for the holidays" how "you've always done it this way", and focus on your priorities. Pull your loved ones in, and let these other things go. Believe me, Santa will understand. Give yourself permission to celebrate in your own way, to have this day, and to know that you deserve the next.
What about the holidays after treatment? You've been so focused on just getting through and going through the motions that everything seems a little out of focus. What should you do now? Get outside, reflect on how far you've come, don't let the fear of missing out ruin your time. There is nothing wrong with changing how you celebrate. But there is also nothing wrong with trying to do the little things you love this time of year.
Families, let your warrior celebrate. Buy them the things they love. Maybe this year these things will mean a little bit more. If it's from the heart, it will always be a gift worth giving. Cancer may be a scary word, but your loved ones don't want to be feared. They don't want you to be afraid. This might be the last holiday, so why fill it with doubt or sadness? Life has already given them that. So it is your gift to give them to give love and light.
Warrior, I know you are tired. I know you are lonely. I know you feel unheard and unseen. I know you feel weak and sick. I know you feel angry, sad, confused, and lost. But warrior, I know that you have a good map, a good heart, and a good head on your shoulders. I know that this holiday can still mean something to you.
We have been reading some incredible blogs of women with metastatic cancer recently, and one ended with "survive and shine". It hurts to know that so many of these blogs were published weeks, months, and years ago and their writers might not be with their families this year. But this holiday season, I challenge you to survive and shine for you, your loved ones, and those beautiful warriors who are no longer with us. Make it your own, and make sure you shine as brightly as you can.
Breast cancer has never been a diagnosis that attaches itself to a particular age group or generation. Although it is most commonly found in women over the age of 50, there is still a high number of young men and women who are diagnosed every year. One of the scariest things? The tools to help with the diagnosis and to detect at an earlier age are still not up to par, nor do they help with diagnosis as well as one would hope. When it comes to awareness, it needs to begin at a young age and not be a topic or knowledge limited to anyone.
It's common for many women to not worry about the slightest possibility of breast cancer until they reach their 50th birthday, after starting regular mammograms around their 40th birthday. But for many young women, just starting families and very exciting careers, it's a different story. According to the Young Survival Coalition, "breast cancer in young women tends to be diagnosed in its late stages and is more aggressive. It is estimated that 12% of cases of breast cancer will be in women under the age of 40 and approximately 26,393 women will be under 45 years of age. Every year more than 1000 women under the age of 40 die from breast cancer." Some of these young women who are diagnosed are very healthy and come from a family never touched by breast cancer, so it can come as quite a shock to receive this information out of the blue. Which is why we have stressed in past blogs, that as soon as you can start educating yourself and understanding your body as a young woman, the better. Be aware of signs, symptoms, and what to look for. Learn how to give yourself self breast examinations, and never be quite if something seems out of the ordinary. Be proactive in mentioning anything to your doctor, and never let something go unsaid. They are there to help you with any step along the way. Women who do have family members who have been diagnosed need to be even more proactive, starting exams early and having mammograms as early as their mid 30's. It is also recommended to do the newest genetic testing available to test for the BRAC1 or BRAC2 gene mutation. If you test positive for either, it is more likely that breast cancer could be in your future. If so, become proactive as possible and learn to watch your body closely with your eyes and those of a professional.
Sadly, as common as breast cancer can appear in younger women, it still isn't a topic that is spoken about enough. This is why we want to spread more awareness on the topic and provide some eye-opening information. Please take all of this information to heart, and spread the awareness as much as you can. Care for yourself and the women around you. Share, support, and never be quite. We are here to help guide you through any of these steps.
The Facts and Diagnosis
How it Affects Younger Bodies and Lifestyles
We are here to also spread awareness and offer as much support and guidance as you need. Be aware that cancer will never discriminate based on age or sex, and that staying as educated and aware about your body is the best defense that you can have.
Awareness shouldn't and can't be reserved just for October. Let it be a daily thing, something you can practice with others, and find a path that works for you. As we end October, we wanted to add a little continuation to our last blog. You can do so much for those who are fighting their cancer battle, but there is so much that all parties can do to help themselves and the world at large.
We have been proud to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness for all of October's 31 days. We have proudly been wearing pink, standing up strong with each of you, offering all the comfort and guidance that we could, and talking about how you can offer love and support to those fighting hard against breast cancer. We were very serious when we pressed that as important Breast Cancer Awareness month is, it's important to make this awareness an all year battle. This is a daily fighting for so many, and to conquer the battle, we have to fight and show awareness at every opportunity possible. Designating October to be Breast Cancer Awareness month has opened up the conversation about risk, education, the importance of getting a mammogram, breast health, and screening. Now that the conversation has started and continues to grow stronger every year, let's not lose the momentum!
Find your support group. For those fighting, surround yourself with what and who you need to keep going. Those who keep you inspired, keep you loved, and keep you fighting. If you are a woman who has just hit her 40th birthday, it's time to start getting a mammogram every year and doing regular self-breast examinations once a month. Self-breast examinations should become a practice in your life as soon as you hit puberty, and it needs to be a topic that can be discussed at any age. Find your tribe and support group who can start you off on a healthy and positive path towards your best breast health. Once you start giving yourself breast examinations and begin mammograms, make sure to take anything you find very seriously. Nothing should be ignored. Early detection leads to a very high rate of getting rid of any cancer cells.
If this is a scary path to walk alone, this is a good time to call on or to form your own group. One that can support you and hold you accountable. Find friends going through the same thing, lean on your mom, your grandmothers, aunts, and cousins. They'll be there. It is very important to take these steps as well if you come from a high-risk family. Take the steps to care for yourself because of those in your family who have been diagnosed, and with the possibility that you could be too. Those from high-risk families should start their screenings at 30 and return once a year.
You can also go beyond finding a support group. Find a doctor you trust and who allows you to make your breast health important to you. All of us at The Breast Place are here for you and your journey. Once you have started, don't stop. Inspire others, nurture those around you, and teach as many as you can. No matter your age, keep a support group and offer support to others if you can. The term bosom buddies has never applied better.
Head to Toe
Keeping your whole body healthy is just as important to your body as it is to your breast health. Regular exercise, a healthy sleep schedule, a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and practicing limited alcohol consumption can seriously lower the risk of breast cancer. Practicing these things and setting an example for others, can be inspiring to those around you and in your own journeys.
Be a storyteller. Too many women have fought the battle against breast cancer, and every day we are getting closer to changing those numbers for the better. But your victories, hardships, setbacks, and triumphs need to be heard. You can listen to your doctors, teachers, the news, and any book out there. But the stories told by your peers and others who have been on the battlegrounds, are what will really stick with you. If you're not ready to or don't want to share your story, that's okay. But know that someone out there needs and wants to hear your story, and someone out there will always listen.
Be a fierce listener. If your loved one is going through this battle, don't fill a conversation with your experiences or opinions. Just give them your love and what they need to say your full attention. In reverse, if you need someone to talk to, surround yourself with those who will listen to you and respect what you have to say. This is an important part of your healing process, and you deserve it as much as anyone.
No matter what your journey is, you have so much to share. Once you win your battle, be there for those who need it. If you are fighting, find sturdy ground to lead to victory. We are here to always promote, fight, and support awareness and we will help you do so in any way we can.