It’s October! There are tons of things going on in the world each day but for this month, we commemorate something close to my heart : Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Pink ribbons are everywhere! You can see them in cause worthy activities across the states. Make a difference this month by attending a Breast Cancer Awareness event, give your part of the story if you are a survivor or even go have a mammogram to build awareness about breast cancer. BloodBanker supports and salutes the wonderful men and women who have made holding breast cancer awareness events every year.
History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded on 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a yearly international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October. Like most organizations for a common cause, the major charities championing this killer cancer thought of resounding the bell on Breast Cancer for once a year.
Breast cancer patients could be: me, someone’s aunt, the lady down the street, your grade school teacher, your baker’s daughter, your male gym coach or even you. Does anyone have to go through this alone? The answer is, NO!
Every year people need to understand what has become of breast cancer and the things that scientists are doing to cure it. This month, each cancer survivor shares their story and gets women to take time to get tested- for her and her family’s sake. This year more and more charities are focused on getting information out about screening clinics.
Since August 1, 2012 the Affordable Care Act has a women’s preventive benefit. A woman has the right to use her insurance plan to get breast exams and mammograms with out worrying about costly co-pays and deductibles.
As the saying goes, “Early detection is the best protection.”
What is Breast Cancer and why Breast Cancer Patients Need Blood?
Breast Cancer is a malignant tumor that begins in the breast cells. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that evolve into surrounding tissues or spread to other areas of the body.
Most breast cancer patients undergo chemotherapy as part of their treatment. Chemotherapy drugs help kill the cancer cells by damaging the cell or interfering with cellular process required to support its life, gradually slowing or stopping cancer growth. Though chemotherapy does work, it harms the patient’s healthy cells too.
One complication that a breast cancer patient can have from chemotherapy is anemia. This happens when there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells or below the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. Once the radiation from chemotherapy affects the bone marrow where blood is made.
Doctors keep track of the quality of the patient’s blood after going through the treatment. Though anemia is inevitable, doctors make sure that cancer patients get the transfusion they need if blood level gets too low.
Some cases of breast cancer would call for immediate surgery to arrest the spread of the cancer cells in the body. Breast Cancer patients have the infected parts incised from them - this procedure is bound to cause bleeding. Just like all surgeries, stand-by units of patient type blood are available.
What breast cancer patients undergo is not a piece of cake. It takes great amount of courage and strength to go on fighting against the dreaded disease. But we are here to let them know that they do not fight this battle alone. One way of doing this is by donating blood. Thousands of women with breast cancer depend on blood transfusion to survive. We know we can help them. And we will.
Any form of cancer is painful, breast cancer patients who go through a mastectomy don’t just deal with the surgical scar. Cancer patients, men and women, have to deal with the surgery and its effect. The best way to deal with any form of cancer is to have a very strong and stable support group. The month of October is the time to inform and aid patients and their families resume life after a trying journey.
Breast cancer knows no age, face or status
The best spokespersons for breast cancer are the ones who have survived and the ones who are fighting to get cured. Their fight against breast cancer proves that they are just normal persons who are susceptible to dreadful diseases like this.
Celebrity Breast Cancer Survivors
We have always looked up to them because they are always seen on screen, television and glossy magazine covers. Their lives unfold when they champion a cause that a regular woman is going through. For this article, I’ve read up on several celebrities who have struggled with breast cancer. As survivors, they have used their influence and personal experiences to inspire and encourage women who suffer the same fate as theirs.
Singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow is a living proof that early detection is the best protection against breast cancer. She was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in 2006 at the age of 44. The nine-time Grammy nominee was dealing with a canceled wedding engagement with Lance Armstrong at the time when she discovered about her cancer. She had minimally invasive surgery in late February 2006, which was then followed by radiation therapy. Despite being dedicated to health and fitness, Crow did not escape the fangs of cancer. But after her treatment, the singer fully recovered from the disease and is now an active advocate for breast cancer prevention and routine mammograms.
Aussie pop singer Kylie Minogue shocked her fans when she announced she had breast cancer in 2005. The then-36 year old singer was on a concert tour when she learned about her disease and canceled her tour to start with the treatments. The former child actress-turned-international singer underwent radiation and chemotherapy, and soon after emerged victorious from her breast cancer battle. Minogue, who received a Mo Award for “Australian Entertainer of the Year” for her live performances, proved herself a total showgirl as she graced life’s obstacles with a strong and optimistic heart. In 2011, Minogue received an honorary Doctor of Health Science degree by Anglia Ruskin University in the UK for her work in raising awareness for breast cancer.
American rock singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in October 2004 after she found a lump in her left breast while examining herself in the shower. Even though she lost her father, grandmother and aunt from cancer, she still didn’t think it would happen to her. The two-time Grammy winner had a lumpectomy, had all 15 lymph nodes removed to ensure the cancer hadn’t spread, and went through 5 rounds of radiation and chemotherapy.
After completing chemotherapy and radiation, Etheridge returned to public eye and performed in the 2005 Grammy Award. Though she was completely bald at that time, it didn’t stop the rocker from setting the Grammy stage ablaze with her amazing performance of a Janis Joplin tribute with Joss Stone. Etheridge also supports Hard Rock’s PINKTOBER for Breast Cancer program where she helps in spreading awareness about the disease and shares her message to the world.
Emmy Award Winner Christina Applegate was 36 years old when she was diagnosed with early stage of breast cancer in 2008. Her mother is a repeat breast cancer survivor, and knowing the odds she must face, Applegate decided to have double mastectomy to reduce the chance of the cancer to come back.
The actress has been mindful of breast cancer symptoms and has been getting regular mammograms since she was 30 years old. But her doctor suggested she get an MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) and found out she had cancer only in her left breast. Nonetheless, the comedienne opted to have two of her breasts removed to make sure the cancer won’t return anymore. In 2009, the Golden Globe and Tony Award nominee founded Right Action for Women, a charitable foundation dedicated to breast cancer screening. It also focuses on the type of MRI scan which saved the actress’ life.
Joining the list of celebrity breast cancer survivors are: The Sopranos star Edie Falco, Australian singer Olivia Newton John, two-time Academy Award winner Maggie Smith, fashion designer Betsey Johnson, TV news anchor Hoda Kotb, Good Morning America’s broadcaster Robin Roberts, and actress Jaclyn Smith.
The roll of breast cancer survivors runs a mile – whether they are celebrities or normal people – and each survival story is worth telling. BloodBanker honors and admires all the breast cancer survivors and those who have succumbed to the disease around the world. To all the women who are currently fighting against breast cancer, we revere your bold spirit and be assured that our hearts go out with your journey.
You may know someone who has, once had or died from breast cancer. We ask your support in spreading awareness of this message, and of course, we seek that you help THEM with your donated blood.
We are one in celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we are here to spread news that life’s greatest enemy is not disease, but despair.
Support Breast Cancer Awareness month; cure despair with hope, faith, courage and love.