Keep Calm And Think Pink!

Pink, has been associated with women since we can remember, and being very good for marketing it was also chosen for caring for women in general and specifically since 1993 for breast cancer awareness day.

by Erinda Kosturi

October carries a special message with its arrival.

All women know and most probably like the pink color. We tend to associate such color with female sex since birth. There is something with it that tastes sweet, you can feel hope with it, it almost cuddles you.

Pink, has been associated with women since we can remember, and being very good for marketing it was also chosen for caring for women in general and specifically since 1993 for breast cancer awareness day.

Since I can remember October has been full of activities, free pink gifts aiming to raise awareness through women about this disease which has great chances of survival if detected in early stages.

What prompted me to dedicate an article to this day, is that despite such efforts worldwide, despite unlimited free information, I was surprised to see how little young women know about the disease.

Hereby, I brought some facts to you, which hopefully will encourage you to look at October as a date with your health.

  1. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women.
  2. In the U.S., every 15 minutes a woman dies from breast cancer.
  3. The U.S., has the most cases of breast cancer in the world.
  4. Although women tend to believe that breast cancer runs in the family, and neglect appointments with their physicians if do not have any relative with breast cancer, you have to know that only 5-10% of breast cancer occur in women who have a genetic predisposition.
  5. During 2002-2006, 95% of new cases and 97% of deaths occurred in women 40 years and older.
  6. The biggest single risk factor for breast cancer is AGE, so do not underestimate the importance of mammography after the 50s thinking that menstrual cessation will protect you from this disease.
  7. About 1 in 3000 pregnant or lactating women will develop breast cancer.
  8. Breast cancer risk increases when women have been using HRT for more then 5 years.
  9. Women who work night shifts and flight attendants who have circadian rhythms disruption have a higher risk of breast cancer.
  10. Women have a 12.1% chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Meaning in our lifetime 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. In 1970s this risk was 1 in 11.
  11. Approximately 1.2 million cases of breast cancer are diagnosed around the world each year. 75% are found in women over 50.
  12. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported a higher risk of breast cancer in women who used multivitamins.
  13. On average it takes 100 days or more for a cancer cell to double in size. It takes about 10 years for cells to divide to a size that can actually be felt, so the only way to get a diagnose on time is to be regularly screened.

October was chosen to be the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month because the first NBCAM took place in October 1985.

How can these 14 facts help you?

Lets start by understanding that you can have an ultrasound at any age. It has no side effects, does not put you under risk and provides you with excellent information about your breast structure.

Starting from the age of 40 you can undergo mammograms. At times they can be combined with ultrasound.

Visit your gynecologist and ask him or her to keep records of the breast clinical exam he or she will perform and also ask to be instructed with the breast self-exam technique, which you can perform monthly under the shower or lying in bed. Remember that by the time you can feel the lump, it has been for about 10 years, so combine self examination with radiological modalities.

If you have a mother, sister or daughter that has ever had breast cancer or is currently fighting breast cancer, understand that you are also at increased risk for such disease. So get screened and plan a schedule of follow up with your doctor.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer throughout her lifetime, means that you are in higher risk with increased age, so do not neglect mammograms with years passing, on the contrary, discuss with your doctor the best options of screening and plan in advance your next appointment.

NOT every breast lump is a CANCER!!!

Lucky for us, they are usually benign lesions that are commonly found in women. At times the doctor might want the lesion biopsied. This should not be a red flag to you, it’s just protocol so don’t rush to any conclusions yet.

For women in high risk for developing breast cancer, your doctor might even encourage you to undergo a breast MRI. This is also something normal, to take into consideration and not read much into.

From today, when you put on pink-think breast care.