October is all about Breast Cancer Awareness, but has the cause really made you more aware or did you just buy new pink bras?
The problem is not that we are not aware, the problem is that we don’t do enough. I’m not just talking about donating more or supporting more campaigns. Yes, these are very important, but another factor is missing in the equation. I’m talking about starting to really believe what we preach, and most importantly, taking the steps to act on it.
A Question to Ask Yourself: I’m Aware, But Do I Really Care?
In case you think I’m sitting on a high horse, let me be clear – I haven’t given Breast Cancer much thought or research until this week, despite my support for Breast Cancer Awareness events throughout the years. The cause of saving women’s precious breasts is a huge matter that is very close to my heart! (See what I did there? Wink wink. Okay, stopping now.)
On a more serious note. I’ve supported the cause by hosting and going to charity events, giving donations, and telling others to join the cause. It’s a shameful realization that despite all this, I actually know very little about Breast Cancer and have done nothing to consciously prevent it from happening to myself or to my loved ones.
An aunt who had been living with my mom throughout her treatment has recently passed away, but my family never really talked about it. A grandfather survived it, but I didn’t ask more. The irony here is that despite my seemingly lack of interest in my family’s brush with this condition, I am scared shitless of getting it myself or of having anyone I care for get it. The display of strength and spirit of women and men who fight through Breast Cancer, or any cancer, is inspiring, but for some who look on (like me) it freezes them with fear. I don’t know if I actually don’t want to know, or if I don’t care. I personally just shelf the possibility at the back of my head, living on the premise that what I don’t know won’t hurt me. What I need to come face to face with is that in the case of breast cancer, it actually can.
I feel like a hypocrite for caring so much about the cause but not caring enough to really understand it. While on the quest of achieving a career, enjoying its rewards, and taking advantage of my youth, I go on with my life living like I’m invincible. I’m sure many of you would feel the same. Action and insight is lacking in our support for the cause. Without starting with ourselves, aren’t we just preaching blindly?
I call on everyone, including myself, for honest and sincere AWARENESS starting TODAY. How?
- Call your mother. Knowing your family’s history with Breast Cancer is important in having a general idea when your physician conducts a risk assessment. In understanding Breast Cancer and family history, you have to know two things. Firstly, whether anyone as far as your second degree relatives have suffered from it. Secondly, the severeness of their condition or battle with any other forms of cancer. It is also important to understand that even if it runs in your family, it is not a definitive sign that you will get it too.
- FEEL YOUR BOOBIES. Early detection is key to fighting the spread of this disease. At the age of 20, you should be able to know how to properly conduct a monthly Breast Self Exam and you are also encouraged to start getting an annual Clinical Breast Exam. By Age 40, you should be getting annual Mammograms on top of this routine. Encourage family members and friends to get checked. Just read this news about Lynne Marcotte and how her annual breast exam saved her life.
- You don’t really have to get shitfaced every night, do you? Start changing your lifestyle now. Starting a healthy lifestyle early on can reduce the risk of Breast Cancer late in life. Studies show that copious alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and obesity at an early age can lead to Breast Cancer, but this is not news. Make a resolution to put this knowledge into action.
- Walk the talk. Reach out to your local women’s group and suggest an information drive on Breast Cancer Early Detection. Find survivor organizations like iCanServe whom you can ask to help you out with this endeavor. There is an amazing display of support and love being exchanged with honest inspiration and information in events like this, which can really drive change in people.
- Be a fellow human being. Show your love to someone battling breast cancer. Whether a friend, family, friend of family, or family of friend – give your support in whatever way you can. A simple recognition, in your own way, of your admiration for them can really help. Don’t just witness their struggle or hear their stories. Be present, treat them as you would on a normal day, but with a little more love.
This month is a reminder to all of us of what it means to take a cause to heart.
*** PS. If you’ve been affected by Breast Cancer in any way, and would like to share your story, please share it in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, I made the images above for my post on MsCareerGirl.com: 8 Celebrity Quotes Promoting Breast Cancer Awareness. There’s some more there, do check it out and share them!