Bring awareness to breast cancer

By Salena Von
Staff Writer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast Cancer Ribbon
(Photo from

Women are not the only ones prone to the disease. Although men can also be diagnosed with it, it is rare. Either way, breast cancer occurs when breast cells grow abnormally which then can be spread through the entire breast. This can lead to negative effects in the bones, liver, and brain.

The symptoms of this cancer are numerous, but the first sign is a painless lump in the breast. From there, it can include the changes in shape or size of the breast, thickening in the armpit or breast, and a discharge of a green or bloody fluid coming from the nipple.

You can give yourself a breast examination through five easy steps to look out for the symptoms of breast cancer. The first step is that you stand in front of a mirror and examine your breasts (make sure that the size and shape are the same and if you see any dimpling, an inverted nipple, or swelling, to bring these changes to your doctor’s attention). You would then raise your arms and look for any changes and to see if any fluids are leaking out of one or both nipples.

The fourth step needs to be executed when you are lying down. Once this is done, put one arm behind your head and have the other reach towards the opposite breast. With smooth circular motions, start from the nipple and go outwards. Try to feel through the tissue for any lumps. When you finish, switch arms and repeat the process to the other breast. The last step is to feel your breast when you are standing with your arm raised up. You can do this step when you are taking a shower; use the same hand motion from step four.

Risks of breast cancer are increased by several different factors. Age is certainly a factor. Another is family history; if you have several relatives who have it, it is more likely for you to get it. Race also comes into play.  Statistics find that white women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women of other races.

Alcohol is another factor; according to a 2011 study from the Journal of the American Medical Association, consuming 5 to 10 grams of alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer by 15 percent. You can lower these risks by maintaining a healthy diet, doing physical activities, and reducing the consumption of alcohol.

The treatments offered for breast cancer are medications, surgery, and a variety of other options. When prescribed medications, the recipient can either stop the production of estrogen (the hormone responsible for the breast cell growth) or target the tumors head-on without damaging the normal cells.

Surgeries, on the other hand, offer more options including taking the lump out of the breast or having the entire breast removed. The other well-known treatment is radiation, where high-energy X-rays are sent through the breast and shrink the tumors and destroy the cancer cells.

Even though not many are aware of the dangers of breast cancer, there are plenty of organizations reaching out to spread awareness and try to find a cure. A cure has not been found yet, but there are survivors who have gone through the painful journey of recovering from sickness who are ready to educate the youth and prepare them for the unexpected.