October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 women in the U.S. (about 13%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. While we all recognize the pink clothing and ribbons that demonstrate awareness of breast cancer and solidarity with breast cancer patients and survivors, what else can we do to truly make an impact? Here are our suggestions:
- Self- screen regularly. Women should perform a self-exam once per month. If you’re unsure of how to conduct a self-exam, check out this information from the National Breast Cancer Foundation: https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam
- Schedule a mammogram. A mammogram is an x-ray that examines the breast tissue to detect any unusual areas. A small dose of ionizing radiation is exposed to the breast, helping to produce better images of the breast tissue. Women 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 or 2 years, while women younger than 40 should consult their healthcare provider if they have risk factors for breast cancer.
- Support and uplift those who are fighting breast cancer. If you have a friend or colleague who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you can offer emotional and practical support.
- Emotional support – Be available to just listen. Call or visit to let your friend know that you are available to cry, laugh, talk. Make sure not to call during meal times or too late or early in the day. Call or text before visiting to make sure it’s a good time, and don’t visit if you’re feeling sick.
- Practical support – Consider making homemade meals that can be frozen and eaten later. Offer to drive your friend to doctor’s appointments. Offer to help with housework, yardwork, or caring for children and pets. Ask your friend what you can do to be helpful and, if she is less direct, listen for clues.
There is a lot of misinformation about breast cancer. The National Breast Cancer Foundation has a great resource to clear up some myths surrounding the disease, detection, and treatment: https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-myths/
Dimensions Home Health Care offers home care for cancer patients as well as other patients with illness or injury. We have a dedicated team of experienced nurses and aides serving Gurnee, IL and surrounding areas. If we can help support you in any way, give us a call at 847-360-7660.