Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guest Post - National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by Dixie Suarez

May I have your attention please? October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast health education and awareness is a yearlong effort, but let’s take this time to review some of the specifics on this issue.

What is Breast Cancer?

A disease in which cancerous cells develop in the tissues found in the breast. Breast cancer initiates in the cells of the breast which can later metastasize to other parts of the body. Early detection and treatment of breast cancer is important in increasing the chances of survival.

Signs and Symptoms

•    Nipple tenderness
•    A change in the skin texture of the breast
•    A lump in the breast
•    Dimpling in breast area
•    Nipple discharge that is bloody or clear

If you have some of these signs and symptoms it does not mean you have breast cancer. However, it is still important to discuss the signs and symptoms with your physician to determine a diagnosis and proper treatment. Anything out of the ordinary in your breasts is important. Do not be afraid to speak up about your breasts during a doctor’s appointment!

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that are linked with breast cancer. Environmental and daily life risk factors include a poor diet, limited physical activity, being overweight or obese, consuming alcohol, having radiation to the chest region, and combined hormone replacement therapy.

Male Breast Cancer 

Approximately less than one percent of all breast cancer develops in males. There is a higher mortality from breast cancer in men due to a lack of awareness and a delay in medical treatment.

Quick Facts

•    1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifespan
•    Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women
•    Each year more than 40,000 women will die from breast cancer
•    An estimated 410 men will die from breast cancer each year


Women are not the only ones that can develop breast cancer. Any unusual signs and symptoms should be discussed with your physician. The earlier breast cancer is detected the higher the chances of making a full recovery. There are environmental risk factors that can be modified with lifestyle changes that include more exercise and a well-balanced diet.

Finally let’s empower people in our lives with this information. Create awareness about breast health in your own families, among your friends, and in your own community. If someone you know is apprehensive at the thought of getting a breast exam accompany your friend or family member to get a mammogram. Be the support they need to stay healthy.

Remember it is just as important that we do not forget to ask ourselves:

Have I examined my breasts lately?

Dixie Suarez is a Health Studies master's student at Texas Woman's University.


14 Inspiring Breast Cancer Quotes


National Breast Cancer Foundation. (n.d.) Breast cancer facts. Retrieved from

National Breast Cancer Foundation. (n.d.). Male breast cancer. Retrieved from

National Breast Cancer Foundation. (n.d.). Risk factors. Retrieved from

National Breast Cancer Foundation. (n.d.). Symptoms and signs. Retrieved from

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