According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, over 268,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2019. And besides skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. Even though these statistics are daunting, there is hope for new technology and advances in medicine that can help women win their battle with cancer. There are also a variety of charities and organizations that hope to increase awareness and provide support for those who have breast cancer.
Founded by Betty Ford and her daughter in 1985, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) started as a week-long televised event and has been raising awareness for the disease since. Every October, major breast cancer charities strive to raise funds for research into the cause of breast cancer, prevention, diagnoses, treatment, and cure of cancer. Throughout the month, the organization’s mission is to provide support for those struggling with cancer and to educate women on the importance of self-exams and regular mammograms.
At DAK Equipment, we proudly support Susan B Komen and the Bright Pink organization and also want to help raise awareness about the importance of breast cancer prevention. Even though the products and services we provide are far removed from breast cancer research, we want to do what we can to help women who are fighting an incredibly hard battle. If you would like to join us and help in the fight against cancer, here are the links to our favorite organizations, as well as a few others, and a brief history of the organization.
Susan Goodman Komen was born in 1943 and was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 33 years old. After Susan’s death in 1980, just three years after her diagnosis, her younger sister, Nancy, promised to help women understand the disease and their treatment options. Nancy founded the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in 1982. Since the foundation’s creation, it has raised more than $800 million in breast cancer research.
The Bright Pink organization started in 2007 by Lindsay Avner. Lindsay’s great-grandmother and grandmother died of breast cancer, and her mother fought both breast cancer and ovarian cancer. She decided to undergo genetic testing and it was determined that she carried a mutation on the gene BRCA1. With this family history and genetic testing, it indicated that she had up to an 87% risk of developing breast cancer and a 54% chance of developing ovarian cancer. Lindsay decided to undergo a risk-reducing double mastectomy, the youngest woman at the time to do so. Bright Pink strives to create a welcoming and inclusive community for women who choose to take proactive measures against breast cancer.
Founded by Janelle Hail in 1991, the National Breast Cancer Foundation seeks to help educate women around the world on the importance of early detection. Janelle was 34 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1980, a time when patients knew little about the disease and their treatment options. In high school Janelle was taught about performing self exams, so when a lump would not go away on its own, she went to her doctor. She had a mastectomy and is still passionately supporting women and raising awareness for the importance of early detection.
Founded in 1991 by Marisa C. Weiss, MD, a radiation oncologist, Marisa wanted to further support her patients who had recently completed treatment for breast cancer. She held a conference where women could gather to gain information as well as create a supportive community with each other. Since then, the organization holds several conferences to provide support and to help empower women who have struggled with cancer.
What Every Woman Should Know About Breast Cancer
The team at DAK Equipment not only want to help support these charitable organizations, but also to provide information and support for women.
Self Exams Are More Than Just Lumps
It’s recommended that women start performing self breast exams in their 20s. Self breast exams should be done to not only check for lumps in the breast tissue, but also so that women can become familiar with their body. When performing an exam, feel for lumps, but also for an increased density or heaviness of the breast, a change in shape, tenderness or pain, or a change in skin texture. If a change persists, schedule an appointment with your doctor or for a mammogram.
It’s Not Just Family History
Even though family medical history does play a part in whether or not a woman develops breast cancer, more than 80% of women develop the disease and do not have a close relative with breast cancer. There are a variety of other factors that can increase the risk of developing cancer.
The Risk Factors of Breast Cancer
Along with family history, there are a few risk factors that women should be aware of, some that can be controlled, and some that cannot.
- Weight: Being overweight can increase the risk.
- Diet & exercise: A balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, avoiding trans fats, and getting in regular exercise can reduce the risk.
- Alcohol: Some studies have shown that the risk of breast cancer increases with higher levels of alcohol consumption.
- Smoking: There is a slightly higher risk of cancer for women who smoke.
- Race: There is a slightly higher risk for caucasian women.
- Age: The risk increases as women get older, or between the ages of 30 and 60.
Doctors recommend that women begin getting regular mammograms at the age of 40. However, for women who are not at a high risk and who perform regular self exams, a mammogram may not be necessary until the age of 50. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor or reach out to one of the above organizations.
DAK Equipment is proud to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month by bringing attention to these organizations and by providing information to help women understand their risks. We strive to be more than just a company who offers warehouse equipment, but to also help and support our community and the women in it. Contact us today if you have any questions.