Photo Credit: Angiola Harry via Unsplash 

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. 

 

One of the most crucial aspects to breast cancer detection is breast health awareness. One in eight Canadian women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, so all individuals should be aware of the look and feel of their breasts and nipples so that they can notice any abnormalities if something changes or feels different. 

 

According to Johns Hopkins Medical Centre, 40 per cent of breast cancer cases are diagnosed when a lump is felt. This is why regularly examining yourself is very important. Breast exams can be performed in a number of ways, but the most important thing is to check regularly and frequently. Pay attention to the size, shape and skin texture of breasts as well as the appearance of nipples. 

 

In the case that a lump is found, it’s important to go to a doctor to be examined clinically. The vast majority of changes in the breast are not cancerous, as it may be normal for breasts to be lumpy or tender before the start of menstruation. A lump that does not go away after the menstrual cycle may be cause for concern. Other symptoms that should be examined by a doctor include discharge from the nipple, particularly if it is clear or bloody. 

 

A lump in the breast is the most common first sign of breast cancer, meaning that everyone should be examining their breasts. The sooner breast cancer is detected, the sooner treatments can begin and the greater the odds of survival and recovery. 

 

Sequoia Breast Cancer Association is a non-profit organization that provides online resources to help those in Ontario access support, resources and education about breast cancer. They offer programs in the Niagara Region as well. 

 

The CIBC Run For The Cure is always a great way to get involved. It took place on Sunday October 4 in Niagara, but it looked different this year. With physical distancing being a necessity at the current moment, the Run for the Cure went online. Participants were able to register online and were then given the option to create and customize an avatar. The more money they fundraised, the more accessories and gear they were able to customize their avatar with. On Sunday October 4, they hosted a livestream opening ceremony event and then participants were invited to walk or run around their neighbourhood and track their steps. 

For those who want to learn more about breast cancer and prevention as well as for those who may be struggling to come to terms with a diagnosis, resources are available at www.niagarabreastcancer.org or by calling 905-687-3333. They also provide resources for those who are providing support for loved ones who have been recently diagnosed. Interested individuals can register for peer to peer support programs, survivor support programs and support programs for loved ones.