October marks the annual international Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Organized by major charities the month is dedicated to raising awareness about the disease and serves as a fundraiser to secure more funds that will go towards finding a cure and other treatment methods, as well as financially supporting individuals and their families who have been affected by breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer to be found in females in the United States. While breast cancer can be found in men, it is far more common in women. In recent years, due to new treatment methods and early diagnosis, survival rates have dramatically increased.

The awareness that Breast Cancer Awareness Month brings about is clearly working as people across the globe are learning more and more about this disease, including early signs and symptoms, how to do an at home breast exam, and risk factors, all of which previously added to the disease’s high mortality rate.

Early Signs and Symptoms

  • Lump or thickening that feels different from surrounding tissue
  • Changes in size, shape, or appearance of breast
  • Changes to the skin over the breast
  • Newly inverted nipple

Risk Factors

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Personal history of breast conditions, including breast cancer
  • Being female
  • Increasing age
  • Obesity

These are just a few of the early signs and symptoms, and risk factors that can increase the risk of developing breast cancer. It is important to speak with your doctor if any of these apply to you, as well as getting routine breast exams done on a regular basis. Even with a high risk, breast cancer can be prevented, and if not prevented, at least detected early, as long as one pays attention to their body and changes that occur.

It is from Breast Cancer Awareness Month that much of what is known about the disease has come about. So continue to raise awareness. Educate your friends, your family members, your colleagues. It is through education, increased awareness, and increased funding that a cure for this terrible disease can finally be found.

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About the Author: Meghan Walsh

Hi! My name is Meghan Walsh. I’m originally from New York, but I am currently a junior at Providence College, studying abroad here in Rome through CEA study abroad. I am a Management and History double major. I love writing and photography, both of which I hope to become better at during my time here! I’m so excited for my internship with MedinAction, and cannot wait to see what the future holds in store for me here in Rome!