Breast cancer. Handwritten love banner sign
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Breast Cancer: Help increase survival rates in 6 steps

Too often we hear, “My mom has breast cancer,” and then the battle is on until there is no more that can be done. Breast cancer terrorises families across the world every day. It affects the victims and their loved ones physically, financially, emotionally and mentally.

The stories of losing mothers, grandmothers, wives and daughters to the dreadful disease are widespread and heartbreaking. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the time when many people get involved in helping the cause to increase survival rates.

According to MayoClinic, breast cancer can occur in both men and women but it is far more common in women. It is not clear why some people who have no risk factors develop cancer, yet other people with risk factors never do.

Causes of breast cancer

It’s likely that breast cancer is caused by a complex interaction of your genetic makeup and your environment. Studies show that breast cancer is linked to gene mutations passed through generations of a family. Here is a frightening list of risk factors that shows how vulnerable most women are in becoming victims of breast cancer:

  • being female
  • increasing age
  • having a personal history of breast conditions
  • having a personal history of breast cancer
  • having a family history of breast cancer
  • inherited genes that increase cancer risk
  • radiation exposure
  • obesity
  • beginning your period before age 12
  • beginning menopause at an older age
  • having your first child at an older age
  • having never been pregnant
  • postmenopausal hormone therapy
  • drinking alcohol

Increasing survival rates of breast cancer cases

There are ongoing programmes at the National Cancer Institute that support prevention and early detection of breast cancer. Survival rates have increased, and the number of deaths associated with this disease is steadily declining. People show their support for increasing survival rates of breast cancer in different ways and you can too with these 6 effective ways.

1. Detect symptoms early

You and people you know can survive breast cancer if you detect symptoms early. According to Breastcancer.org, breast self-examination is a useful and important screening tool, especially when used in combination with regular physical exams by a doctor, mammography, and in some cases ultrasound and/or MRI.

During examination, you should look out for several symptoms. Check for a breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue, change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast, changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling, a newly inverted nipple, peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin, or redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange.

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2. Reduce risks with lifestyle changes

Making changes to your daily life can reduce the risks of breast cancer. If you currently do not practise self-breast examination in the mirror, that is the first change you would like to make. If you choose to drink alcohol, do it in moderation since research shows that alcohol can increase levels of estrogen and other hormones associated with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.

Develop an exercise regimen of 30 minutes a day for 5 or 6 days a week to keep a healthy weight. Studies show that having more fat tissue can increase your chance of getting breast cancer by raising estrogen levels. Choose a healthy diet eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, olive oil and fish. Talk to your doctor about preventive medication and surgery.

3. Donate to breast cancer support networks

Make a financial donation to Breastcancer.org to support breast cancer awareness and research. Funding has helped created advances in the diagnosis and treatment while increasing the survival rates worldwide. Your contribution can provide life-saving mammograms, medication and chemotherapy to women in need.

You may also donate blood to cancer organisations. Extra blood is critical to many people with cancer, during and after treatment. There are two types of blood donations needed. Whole-blood donation is approximately 1 pint of blood collected through a vein in your arm. Platelet donation is a portion of your blood called platelets, which form clots that help stop bleeding.

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4. Spread awareness of breast cancer

Become an advocate for spreading awareness of breast cancer. Wear a pink ribbon all year long to honor survivors, remember those lost to the disease, and to support the progress being made to defeat breast cancer. You can wear pink clothing during the month of October, educate people verbally about the disease, and distribute flyers and pamphlets on breast cancer that are available at health care facilities.

You can also join the fight against the disease using social media. Visit Breastcancer.org and share the informative articles with your friends and family on all your social media networks. Encourage your contacts to do the same since together you can give all women a fighting chance to defeat this cruel disease.

5. Share your story

By sharing your breast cancer experience, you help to get people talking about prevention and ensure that it remains a public health concern. Your personal stories can also inspire people to fundraise, volunteer and campaign for the foundation. Your story can be personal or one that involves a loved one.

There are many ways that you can share your story. Tell it on social media to your friends. Build a large following with your story on a fan page and encourage others to tell their stories too. Start a blog for the world to access your story and become aware of what you are going through or went through. Write a book based on your story, publish it on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, and donate the funds to the foundation.


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6. Volunteer to assist a breast cancer victim

Help a breast cancer victim directly to increase the survival rates one person at a time. Offer your assistance to family members, friends, neighbours and even strangers who have been diagnosed with the disease. Your help would mean a lot to them because they would have many responsibilities to fulfil and need all the help they can get.

They may have numerous medical appointments to attend so you can offer to drive them. Their mental health may deteriorate as they fight the disease viewed by many as a death sentence, so you can offer a listening ear. They may be sick most days and cannot work to support their families, so you can spare some change and buy groceries for them. They may not be able to perform the role as parent properly, so help the children with schoolwork and guidance.

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