Whether you or someone you know is battling breast cancer, or you are just going about your daily routine, breast cancer awareness is hard to miss. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it is nice to see support coming from everywhere–sidewalk signs to window displays to NFL football helmets–PINK is definitely the IT color this month, this year, anytime really.
It is important to support breast cancer awareness with donations or pink ribbons to keep the issue on the forefront of everyone’s minds, but even more, it is important for women to protect themselves through early detection. Giving yourself breast exams in the shower and paying attention to unusual bumps or lumps within your breasts is the easiest way to catch breast cancer early. Making a regular doctor appointment to have a mammogram isn’t the most pleasant experience, but it can save your life. Don’t ignore signs or symptoms because you think, “it can’t happen to me,” or “I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.” Take the necessary precautions, pay attention to your body and don’t ignore the signs–not just for your own sake, but for those who love you.
Early Detection: Women, Cancer, and Awareness Campaigns in the Twentieth-Century United States, by Kirsten Gardner, dispells the common notion that American female cancer activism is a post-1970s phenomenon. Gardner traces women’s cancer education campaigns back to the inception of the American Society for the Control of Cancer (now the American Cancer Society) in 1913. Gardner’s examination of films, publications, health fairs, and archival materials shows that women have long promoted early breast cancer detection. While informing female audiences about cancer risks, these early activists also laid the groundwork for the political advocacy and patient empowerment movements of recent decades.