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The purpose of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to make people all over the world more knowledgeable about this disease. In conjunction, government agencies, medical societies and nonprofit organizations work with survivors to raise money to fund research, educate women about the importance of getting regular mammograms and detail methods of prevention and early detection.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood).
  • A new lump in the breast or underarm.

Any woman who exhibits any of these signs is advised to visit her doctor right away.

How did National Breast Cancer Awareness Month originate?

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month dates back to October 1985. This is when the first organized movement to bring attention to the dangers of breast cancer occurred in the United States. Since then, campaigns to educate the public about this disease have continued to thrive and multiply.

Currently, the region with the highest rate of breast cancer-related cases is North America.

What's the significance of the pink ribbon?

Pink awareness ribbon on white backgroundA pink ribbon is the international symbol of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In October 1992, SELF Magazine created the concept of using a pink ribbon to symbolize the importance of breast cancer awareness. Later, SELF editor Alexandra Penney teamed up with the cosmetics company Estée Lauder and their then vice president, Evelyn H. Lauder.  As a result, 1.5 million pink ribbons were distributed at Estée Lauder cosmetics counters all over the world. Then, Lauder who is also a breast cancer survivor formed The Breast Cancer Research Foundation which has raised more than $325 million for cancer research.

7 things you need to know about breast cancer

  1. Breast cancer in American women is the most common cancer, except for skin cancers.
  2. The average risk for a woman in the U.S. to develop breast cancer is 1 in 8 and for men, it is estimated to be 1 in 833.
  3. The incidence of breast cancer rates has been stable for the past few years in white women and has increased only slightly (0.3% annually) in African Americans; unfortunately, black men with breast cancer, like black women, tend to have a poorer prognosis (projected outcome).
  4. Breast cancer death rates have been steady in women younger than 50 years of age since 2007 and have continued to decrease in older women.
  5. In the U.S. there currently are over 3.1 million breast cancer survivors; this is inclusive of women who are still undergoing treatment and those who have completed their treatment regimen.
  6. For the purposes of screening for breast cancer, a female is considered to be at average risk if she does not have a personal history of breast cancer, a strong family history of breast cancer, or a genetic mutation such as a BRCA 1 or 2 gene which is known to increase one’s risk of breast cancer and has not had chest radiation therapy before the age of 30.
  7. You can make a difference by ensuring that the women in your life are doing monthly self-breast examinations (BSE) preferably in the shower and have a clinical breast examination (CBE) annually by the primary care provider.

Anyone needing more information about breast cancer or National Breast Cancer Awareness Month can go to www.cancer.org

If you’re interested in a career in nursing then Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio currently offers the following nursing programs:

  • State Tested Nursing Aid (STNA)
  • Practical Nursing
  • Registered Nursing
  • Transition Program - PN2RN

For more information on any of these programs contact Dean of Allied Health & Nursing, Director of Nursing Allied Health, Tamara Moyer, at one of the following:

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