By Racheal Bola-Keji
I know October is nearly over. But we couldn’t end the month, without discussing the very urgent issue that is breast cancer awareness. Some of you may or may not know that October is traditionally the month marked in several countries, as a time to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of breast cancer.
Every year, cancer charities do a fantastic job of nudging society to wake up and take breast cancer prevention and early detection seriously. If you haven’t been nudged enough this month, I am here to further remind you that breast cancer awareness is very important!
Why is breast cancer awareness month important?
Being a young woman, the topic of breast cancer is one I usually shy away. This is based on feelings of fear and a general lack of knowledge concerning it. But this month, I decided to put on my big girl pants and educate myself. Because of this, I am better off than I was at the start of October! I have learnt so much about the importance of raising awareness, the power of early detection and the significance of looking after yourself.
This for me, is the reason breast cancer awareness month is so imperative. It gives women like myself an opportunity to learn and educate ourselves. Especially where conversations like this lack in our everyday lives. Prior to this month, I had no idea how to check my breasts for abnormalities! These kinds of conversations are just not prominent in my day to day conversations with friends and family.
You may ask why this is?
And it’s very simple. Although there is a general consensus on the importance of breast cancer. Many women don’t know how to detect breast cancer or even how to prevent it. But Breast Cancer Awareness Month reaches the ears of those who need to be aware, but for one reason or another aren’t aware of the risks and prevention’s of breast cancer.
Martin Uzochukwu Ugwu says it best :
“Knowledge is power! & sharing knowledge is the key to unlocking that power.”
This can be applied to Breast Cancer Awareness. The more knowledge we as women have on breast cancer, the further the message of prevention and detection can be spread.
What can you do to keep the conversation going?
1. Educate yourself
Educating yourself is one of the best things you can do, not only for yourself but for the community around you. There is a lot of miscommunication about breast cancer and common knowledge that isn’t always accurate. For instance, I have always believed that only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk of getting the disease. But here’s the truth, statistically only about 10% of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of this disease. And this is why it is important we inform ourselves on the truths of breast cancer.
If you are sitting here asking yourself: how do I distinguish truth from misconception when it comes to breast cancer information? I’ve got one tip that could prove useful.
Make sure you check multiple sources (online websites, breast cancer charities etc) to see if the information you’ve read or heard can be backed up. If after this you are still unsure, the best thing you can do is seek assistance from a doctor or a nurse. They would be able to clear up any confusion you may have and give you reliable and helpful health information.
2. Educate others
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great opportunity to start conversations with friends and family about breast cancer. And luckily for us, we live in a digitized age whereby the process of sharing information is so much easier. There are so many breast cancer charities and foundations on social media who are making it easier for us to raise awareness. For this, I say thank you to all the breast cancer foundations and charities, that make it their mission to educate women on the importance of breast cancer prevention and detection.
Below I have listed just a few breast cancer charities that you can follow and support on Instagram:
- @breastcancernow – a charity steered by world-class research and powered by life-changing care.
- @rethinkbreastcancer– a young people’s breast cancer movement who aim to help uplift, inspire and most importantly rethink breast cancer.
- @futuredreamscharity – a breast cancer charity that helps support those touched by breast cancer, create awareness & fund research.
- @coppafeelpeople – a breast cancer charity that exists to ensure all breast cancers are diagnosed early & correctly.
It only takes one re share to educate others and potentially save a life!
So send a text to a friend, retweet a tweet, share on your Instagram page because all these acts can help raise awareness of breast cancer. Is it really that simple? Yes it is truly that simple.
There is no better time than the present to educate ourselves as women on the details of breast cancer.
October is not over yet, you still have time. In fact, you have a lot of time! But Breast Cancer Awareness Month makes it easier to start the journey of educating yourself today. I know that I will definitely be continuing my research on breast cancer after October is over.
If I haven’t already said this before, say it with me… 3, 2, 1 … ‘Breast cancer awareness month is very important!’ So take that big girl step and educate yourself on breast cancer today.