According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year in the United States, 264,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, the second most common cancer for women behind skin cancer. Symptoms include change in size or shape of the breast, breast pain, or lumps located on the breast or underarm. The best way to discover and catch this cancer fast is a mammogram, an X-ray that can find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt.
Every year, October represents a month to celebrate survivors, those diagnosed, those fighting and loved ones who have passed from this type of cancer. As stated in the Psyciatric Times, cancer patients are at an increased risk of suicidal ideation and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), so physician consultant and Certified Peer Specialist in the Department of Psychiatry at McLean Hospital and the Massachusetts General Hospital Dr. Susan J. Noonan states that collaborative treatment for both cancer and mental health is of great importance: “Collaborative care for both cancer and mental health treatment can greatly benefit the patient, especially when the patient may be experiencing new levels of fear, anxiety, depression and emotional distress,” said Dr. Noonan. Building off the importance of mental health within cancer treatment, Breast Cancer Awareness Month allows for movements of triumph and recognition, providing women around the globe with a sense of supportive community.
Through the entire month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness events have been hosted all across Georgia. N.H Scott Recreation Center produced a Line Dancing for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, located in Decatur, GA, while Pleasant Grove Baptist Church held the Breast Cancer 5K and Health Summit in Marietta, GA, as women dressed in all pink outfits, the symbolic color for breast cancer awareness, to show their love and support.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) also posted a calender of events that included everyday tasks such as reading books surrounding the issues of breast cancer, days of mindfulness, donation opportunities to fund mammograms for women around the globe and calls to action, such as posting a shoutout to recognize a resilient breast cancer survivor or current fighter. Even Vice President of Community Health at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA Magnolia Contreras said, “NBCF has not wavered in their commitment to ensure access to lifesaving mammograms and breast health education to underserved women. With their support, we have been able to provide mammography to women and in particular to women of color, who data show to have a higher mortality rate in breast cancer. NBCF’s partnership saves lives through early detection.”