Watch out for the signs and symptoms, get screened
October is breast cancer awareness month, where many organizations plan events to increase awareness and raise money for the cause. Breast cancer is the leading type? of cancer in women across all races. In Canada, breast cancer constitutes 24 per cent of new cancer cases in women. One in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. Statistically, that means that of the 1,350 female students at Mount Allison, approximately 150 will develop breast cancer. As such, we should all make an effort to know the warning signs and learn more about this disease from an early age.
A study done by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) found 63 per cent of women to believe breast cancer was hereditary. In reality, only five to 10 per cent of breast cancer cases depends specifically on family history. Thus there are many preventative measures you can take to stay healthy and lower your risk of breast cancer. Eating well and maintaining an active lifestyle are examples of such ways to significantly lower your risk. Even taking a 30 minute walk five days a week can reduce your risk of breast cancer by 10 to 30 per cent. Avoiding alcohol and smoking can also lower your risk of breast cancer, since both have been associated with the disease.
However, possibly the most important method of prevention is being aware of the look and feel of your breasts so you can tell if something changes. Signs such as a lump in your breast, skin dimpling, change in skin colour or texture, change in nipple appearance, or blood leaking from the nipple may indicate breast cancer. It is best to begin regularly examining yourself at an early age and contact your doctor if warning signs arise. Regular breast cancer screening after 40 years of age is very important in cancer prevention. Although breast cancer is the leading type of cancer in women, men can also get breast cancer and should be aware of the warning signs as well
The majority of people know someone impacted by breast cancer: a family member, loved one, or even yourself. Breast Cancer Awareness Month not only helps people to learn more about the disease, but also gives them the opportunity to donate to cancer research. It is not too late to get involved! Keep an eye out for initiatives on campus which educate students while helping fundraise to find a cure.
Alyssa BeLong is the 2015-2016 Health and Wellness intern.