Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The entire month of October is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness and here at KC Primary Care, we want you to be educated on what breast cancer is, the early signs, ways to prevent it, and ways to honor those who have survived and fallen from breast cancer here in Kansas City and around the world.
KC Primary Care wants you to be protected with your health and safety when it comes to cancer. We care about all of our patients’ health, especially the women who face breast cancer.
Follow along to learn more about breast cancer and breast cancer awareness month.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that spreads into your breasts. Breast cancer is mostly common in women, and sometimes men, between the ages of 55-65. But that doesn’t mean that women under those ages are in the clear. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 5% of breast cancer cases appear to be women under the age of 40. This means that women of all ages should be aware of their health and the risk factors when it comes to breast cancer.
The Early Signs
Breast cancer is something that should not be taken lightly. Around 300,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the world. Women who are between the ages of 40-55 to receive a mammogram once a year, if you are older than that, we recommend you get two per year. Mammograms save lives! Since it is Breast Cancer Awareness month, this is your sign to get your mammogram at some point during this month or in the next few months.
If you are experiencing some early signs that may lead to breast cancer, you should book an appointment as soon as possible with your doctor, or chat with us at KC Primary Care to pursue the next steps.
Some of the early signs or symptoms include:
- A lump or mass in your breast (most common sign)
- Swelling of all or part of your breast, even if the lump is felt
- Skin irritation
- Breast or nipple pain
- The nipple or breast skin appears red, scaly, or thickened
- Nipple discharge
These early signs could lead to a diagnosis of breast cancer. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, book a mammogram screening or chat with your doctor about the next steps.
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that is hard to prevent, but there are ways to keep yourself healthy before receiving a diagnosis. According to Siteman Cancer Center, there are eight ways to prevent or stay healthy, before breast cancer.
- Keep weight in check: Being overweight can be a high risk for any cancer, including breast cancer, especially after menopause.
- Be physically active: Physical activity of 30 minutes or more can lead to a lower chance of breast cancer.
- Eat fruits and vegetables & Avoid large amounts of alcohol: Increasing your intake of fruits and veggies, and cutting down to one alcoholic beverage a day can lower the risk of breast cancer.
- Don’t smoke: Non-smokers are exposed to most cancers, including breast cancer.
- Breastfeed, if possible: Breastfeeding for a total of one year or more can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- Avoid birth control pills, particularly after the age of 35: Birth control has risks and benefits. While women are taking birth control pills, they have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. After not taking the pill, the risk goes down.
- Avoid post-menopausal hormones: Estrogen-plus-progestin hormones increase the risk of breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about other solutions that will avoid the risk of breast cancer.
- Tamoxifen and Raloxifene for women at high risk: Taking the FDA-approved prescription drug can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Why October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
According to Stat News, National Breast Cancer Awareness began in October 1985 by the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries and originally intended to encourage women to receive a yearly mammogram. The high level of breast cancer awareness continued into the 1990s when Evelyn Lauder established the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and she solidified the pink ribbon to be the ‘mascot’ of breast cancer awareness.
The goals of Breast Cancer Awareness are very simple. The first goal and the most important is to get your yearly mammogram screening ❗❗ Receiving a yearly mammogram can help detect early signs of breast cancer, instead of reducing the risk. The second goal is to get as many people to raise awareness and funds to help support life-saving research and life-changing support for yourself and others. Hundreds and thousands of women are getting diagnosed with breast cancer as you’re reading this, so let’s show these women the support and funding they need to get them through their treatment.
Kansas City Treatment Centers
Kansas City has had an estimated number of 2,380 new breast cancer cases in 2021 so far. Kansas City has always been known for its continuous hospitality and support in the medical world, especially at hospitals and clinics. There are multiple hospitals and clinics in and around the city, but only a few are dedicated to cancer, but breast cancer specifically.
According to the Kansas City Business Journal, The University of Kansas Medical Center is rated the no. 1 hospital in the Kansas City metro and in Kansas. Saint Luke’s is rated no. 2 in the metro and in Missouri. Kansas University Medical Center has its own cancer center that primarily focuses on breast cancer and offers world-class care to treat women’s cancer. Saint Luke’s Cancer Institute is one of the nation’s first centers dedicated to the treatment of metastatic breast cancer and has the region’s largest 3-D mammography centers for early detection of tumors. Sarah Cannon Cancer Center has four locations across Kansas City and they all provide state-of-the-art cancer care close to home for hundreds and thousands of patients. Sarah Cannon focuses on breast cancer most out of other cancers.
Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Kansas City hospitals and clinics are encouraging women to get a mammogram screening. This is very crucial for those who are between the ages of 40-55. Below, The Kansas City Star mentions places in Kansas City that are offering low-priced, or even free mammograms. Follow this link to see what place is located near you and schedule an appointment or walk-in today!
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, you can show gracious amounts of support during the entire month of October. Below are some ideas for you to show support for those who are fighting against breast cancer or those who have survived:
- Spread the News: Mammograms save lives!!!
- Raise awareness of resources, care services, and support groups
- Share survivor stories
- Become a community ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation
- Take part in national, local, and regional fundraising events
- Wear pink 💗
Locally, Kansas Citians are showing their support throughout October for breast cancer too! On October 23, 2021, Crown Center is hosting ‘Making Strides Against Breast Cancer at 9 am! Making Strides is a walk to unite communities in the fight against breast cancer. Making Strides is the largest network of breast cancer events in the nation and Kansas City is lucky enough to join the support. The walk happens to raise money to help the American Cancer Society fund groundbreaking breast cancer research and provide patient services like free rides to chemo, free places to stay during treatment, and a live 24/7 cancer helpline. Sign up today to participate to help save breast cancer patients’ lives today!
The support all across the metro is helping all breast cancer survivors in Kansas City and across the entire country. Another way that people are showing their support is by participating in the “Pink Porch Light” campaign. This campaign is run by AdventHealth and Westlake Ace Hardware. The point of this campaign is to raise awareness for those suffering from breast cancer and to ‘shine the light’ for more people to receive their mammograms. Breast cancer can be easily treated if you get your mammogram, so this is your time to get one. If you are a patient or employee you can receive the pink light bulb at AdventHealth or the Westlake Ace Hardware located in Lenexa, KS. AdventHealth is promoting to ‘shine the light’ all throughout the month of October for breast cancer patients, survivors, and the deceased.
Breast Cancer Awareness should be celebrated every month of the year, but October is a very special month to those who have survived, fallen, and are currently going through treatment for breast cancer. Breast Cancer is very heartbreaking, but with your willingness to show support and to donate to cancer fundraisers, you are saving lives. This is your sign to show as much support as you can during Breast Cancer Awareness Month!