It’s raining pink in communities across the nation in the form of bright pink athletic gear, milkshakes, and comicon costumes. The whole point is to raise awareness and money for breast cancer. Does all of this make a difference? We hope it’s having an impact.
“One of the most frustrating things that I see in my office, and my practice is when a patient … comes in with a huge, golf ball breast cancer that could have probably been diagnosed at an earlier age if they were receiving their annual screening mammogram,” Dr. Senayet Agonafer, a radiologist at Montefiore Medical Center, told SurivorNet.Read More
The American College of Radiology guidelines recommend women get annual mammograms to screen for breast cancer beginning at age 40. Still, a huge number of American women are not up-to-date with recommended screenings.
Dr. Senayet Agonafer, a radiologist at Montefiore Medical Center, talks about learning your risk and listening to the guidelines — an important message about breast cancer awareness
If you’re unsure about when you should begin screening for breast cancer, Dr. Agonafer recommends talking to your doctor and getting all the facts you need to assess your risk. “You should absolutely be tested for your risk of breast cancer starting at the age of 30,” Dr. Agonafer says.
Pink Everywhere! Representing breast cancer awareness month
This October, people all over the country are finding ways to represent breast cancer by sporting and embracing the color pink. Sports teams, car companies, restaurants and comicons are dressing up and decorating with pink to support the cause.
It’s important to note that there is some ongoing debate about what’s called “pinkwashing,” or companies using breast cancer to sell more of their products, effectively corporatizing the illness. Still, such fundraising efforts have had a big impact on enabling research and developments in breast cancer treatment.
Custom Sports Sleeves, a company making gear for athletes of all ages, advertised their merch in an Instagram photo captioned, “2 days left to grab the [pink flower emoji] before they sell out! Don’t be late [solidarity hand emoji].”
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Comicare, another organization devoted to the cause, saw superheroes dressed in pink to spread the word to their fellow comic enthusiasts. “Hello, October![heart] And hello, #breastcancerawareness month! We may wear pink in October to raise awareness, but @deadpoolcameo wears it all year round for patients of all ages!” the comicare Instagram account wrote alongside a photo of a bright pink-clad hero.
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????Hello, October!???? And hello, #breastcancerawareness month! We may wear pink in October to raise awareness, but @deadpoolcameo wears it all year round for patients of all ages! . Thank you for all your support and donations for the month of September! Our hearts are full and we are ready to do some good!! . . #deadpool #deadpoolcameo #deadpoolcosplay #wonderwoman #wonderwomancosplay #cosplay #charity #charitycosplay #hospitalvisit #superhero #superherovisit #makeadifference #beahero #comicare #comicareheroes #yourcomicstheirsmiles #wewearpinkinoctober #savethetatas
Deadpoolcameo himself loved the post, commenting, “I am often called PinkPool by the little princesses, and will always wear pink when requested by the fabulous children that we meet. Fighting the fight against all cancers, mental illness and other bad stuff.”
And someone named Jodirall1 supported the post, “This is ‘one of my favorites’, no comment from you Mr Stark, hahahaha! Love what @comicare does for our peds patients! [strength emoji][heart].”
But dressing up isn’t the only way companies and organizations are showing their pride this month. The Dave Steel Company in downtown Asheville, North Carolina put up massive pink steal beams at, 145 Biltmore Avenue, where a condo in the process of being built will soon house NC residents. The company is partnering with the American Cancer Society to donate $100,000 to benefit breast awareness and research.
“We hope that you will join us in raising funds to support such a worthy cause!! We’re stronger together! #pink-strong-steel-strong #americancancersociety,” wrote the company in an Instagram caption alongside a photo of the structure.
And in Tyler, Texas, about an hour and a half East of Dallas, the Grub Burger Bar is running a fund raiser around a new “pink velvet shake,” sold only in October, the proceeds of which will go to the Susan G. Komen foundation.
The SurvivorNet family on spreading breast cancer awareness
Everyone has a different way of coping with cancer treatment. Tiffany Dyba’s is hip hop chemo. Instead of keeping mum on her chemotherapy days, she dances around to her favorite hip hop jams and posts videos online to show her followers and those who care about her that she may be sick, but she feels good.
Tiffany Dyba on spreading the word and breaking the stigma against breast cancer survivors
“It’s important for people to see that I’m OK,” Tiffany says. “I sort of want to bust through those stereotypes and that stigma and say, I’m out here dancing because I feel good. I’m not going to act sick if I don’t feel sick. And on the days that I feel tired and I don’t feel good, I’m going to post about that too.”
Information about breast cancer risk
Because this month is about spreading awareness of breast cancer, we wanted to also provide a little bit of information about risk factors for the disease. No matter what, the best way to find out whether you have breast cancer or are at risk for breast cancer is to talk to your doctor and get screened.
We often hear that the lifetime risk for breast cancer in any woman is about one in eight, but that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story. The risk varies in every age group and breast cancer becomes increasingly more common as women age. At age 30, for instance, the risk is one in 227, according to the National Cancer Institute. By age 70, the risk is one in 26.
Dr. Elizabeth Comen, Medical Oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, on risk factors for breast cancer
While the key risk indicators are age and family history, there are a whole host of risk factors, many of which our medical advisor Dr. Elizabeth Comen covers in this video. The American Cancer Society breaks them down into lifestyle factors – like being overweight and not having children – and factors you can’t control, like inherited genes and race. Understanding your breast cancer risk factors is obviously very important.