By Brina Whittier
Around this time last year, I remember feeling a lump in my breast. I remember crying my eyes out and feeling like my world was collapsing around me. I was asking myself questions like: could it be cancer? Will I die? What should I do? These were questions I kept secret for about a month because I was too afraid to tell anyone. After telling my parents, my life changed forever. Meeting with different doctors, going into surgery, and dealing with the insurance company made up the worst couple months of my life. It created an immense amount stress for my family and I. Fortunately, it was only a benign tumor and I ended up with a few scars. Although I was extremely lucky, this isn’t always the case for everyone. Let’s talk about breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer found in women. It is a collection of cancerous cells found within the breast tissue. These cells can become dangerous to the body because once they get to an aggressive stage, they will spread to the surrounding tissue. Each year about 220,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. 40,000 of these women pass away. This means that 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer in her lifetime. This is an alarming statistic because these women will have to deal with the financial burden as well as the possibility of death from having cancer. Although it is rare in males, 4,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. With early detection and treatments, breast cancer deaths are able to be minimized. (2) Early detection can be found by getting a high-quality mammogram and having a clinical breast exam on a regular basis. The National Cancer Institute recommends women age 40 and older receive annual mammogram screenings to provide early detection of breast cancer. Some treatments to fight breast cancer include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. (1) Ultimately, breast cancer is a serious problem that takes away the lives of many loved ones.
There are many organizations that participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast Cancer Awareness Month started in October of 1985 in order to spread awareness and promote donations for breast cancer research. (2) It has remained a tradition ever since then. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), tends to receive the largest amount of donations,“the NBCAM is a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations and government agencies that work together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease and provide greater access to services.”(3) This organization is the reason people are able to fund the research, receive aid for treatments, and receive better facilities for cancer. There are many walks, sporting events, concerts, and other events that help fund the research of breast cancer treatment. With this support and fundraising, the research for finding a cure is on its way.
Breast cancer is an important issue that cannot be avoided. It affects thousands of women each year. With many technological advancements and overwhelming support, research is getting closer to finding a solution. KSM stands up for women from cultural and medical standpoints. KSM believes that women should be empowered to live their lives without fear. This month we hope to recognize all the strong men and women for their daily fight with breast cancer.
 Breast Cancer Organization. Breast Cancer. 2015. http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/chemotherapy/fears. 18 18 May.
 National Breast Cancer Foundation Incorporated. National Breast Cancer. 2012. http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-facts. 18 May 2015.
 National Cancer Institute. Breast Cancer. 23 April 2013. http://www.cancer.gov/. 18 May 2015.
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