Breast Cancer Awareness Month


October happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month, aka the pink ribbon. This year breast cancer has become the most common type of cancer accounting for 12% of new cases in 2021. This month is used to raise awareness and bring attention to the disease. As of 2021, 3.8 million women have been diagnosed with breast cancer in only the US, about 13% or 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. This month is important to raise awareness because like every disease it’s best cured when caught early. Even though it is very rare to develop this as a teen and is seen more in women over the age of 50, everyone should know how to screen themselves. “According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers”(Fox Chase Cancer Center) and you are more at risk if a family member has had it as its hereditary. It’s so important to use this month to raise awareness because if more people are aware of the signs and symptoms it makes it easier to detect early on. Early detection is so important to catch the disease in the most treatable stage.

According to the Moffitt program, “The most important thing we can do for school-age kids through the Healthy KIDZ program is encourage them to take care of themselves, their family members and their friends,” said Bethany Niell, MD, PhD, Moffitt’s division chief of breast imaging. Niell spoke to nearly 100 students from Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy MiddleEven just bringing attention to this disease, if you ever think that you have symptoms you should check with a medical professional sooner rather than later. I encourage you to bring support to the strong people fighting this disease and to help raise awareness in any way that you can. School, Ferrell Girls Preparatory Academy Middle School and Redlands Christian Migrant Association Leadership Academy about mammography screenings and explained how the equipment can help save lives” (Moffitt Cancer Center).

LR Health teacher Mrs Gonyaw-Worth says that she discusses mammograms, what they are and when to have them. She also teaches them risk factors, how to perform self checks, and how often.  They do teach some about this disease in class however, it seems to just get grouped in the Disease Prevention unit.

There are two official programs devoted to teaching students about breast cancer, The Moffitt Healthy Kids Program in Florida and another bringing knowledge to rural countries. Other than this it seems to be there is no requirement to inform kids in schools about the importance of different cancers and what to do if you are worried about yourself or others.  The reason why people find this topic to be so scary is because it is, but if students are able to have an open conversation and learn about things it takes this big scary monster and turns it into a controllable idea.

I urge everyone to do what they can this month (and hopefully other months) to help raise awareness.  You could:

  • Wear pink

  • Dye your hair

  • Wear the pink ribbon

  • Listen to people’s stories

  • Donate to the cause

  • Get involved in a fundraiser


Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society’s publications, Cancer Facts & Figures 2021 and Cancer Facts & Figures 2020; the ACS website; and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program (sources accessed January 2021). 
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