Well… Breast Cancer Awareness month is over. I have always noticed the abundance of pink in October, but this was my first October as a woman with breast cancer. Many of my friends and family have asked me how I felt this month, and to be honest, I still don’t really know. But, I have taken this month to really think about “awareness” and what all of this pink really means.
Until this year, I was naive to the wide range of feelings that many people experience during this month. I never thought that increasing awareness and raising funds for an important cause could have a downside, but after learning about the misappropriated funds of large charities, uneven awareness for different cancers, and the emotional burden that many with breast cancer feel during this month, I am starting to understand why some aren’t super supportive when October rolls around.
Since my diagnosis in March, friends and family have asked what they can do to raise awareness. While awareness is important, action is imperative. It is crucial that you take action and be proactive about your health. Talk to your gynecologist about early mammograms and genetic testing. Ask if you can be tested for any BRCA mutation. Knowledge is power.
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
If you have a BRCA mutation your chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 80 is higher than 70%!
I am forever grateful to my gynecologist who encouraged me to do genetic testing, I only wish that I had done it sooner. I did not even know that I was at risk of having a BRCA gene mutation was until I found out that I already had breast cancer. If I had known sooner, I could have had a preventative surgery and maybe never had to deal with cancer at all. If I had known. Well, now I’m telling you.
So, if you are reading this, November is here. Another October has come and gone. The pink ribbons are packed up and put away, but the risk of breast cancer is still very real. There is so much that we can do to stay in control of our own health, but is it up to us to continue to make people aware of the risk of breast cancer and encourage everyone to take action.
Visit bebracaaware.com for more information