While many people will be donning orange and black this month for Halloween, many women and men will be slipping into pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month which takes place each October.
About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer in the course of her lifetime. That’s approximately 266,120 new cases in 2018, alone, and does not include the smaller yet still significant population of men who are diagnosed with the disease. It’s a life-changing diagnosis that marks the beginning of a physically and emotionally challenging journey towards health for both the patient and their family.
The key to treatment and recovery going on smoothly as possible is getting the right information and support. Below are 3 steps that can be helpful to those who are or who have loved ones going through breast cancer treatment.
1. Get Educated
Your doctor, nurses, and other members of your treatment team will be there to walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Still, it’s also helpful to have a few reliable online sources to go to for questions that pop up in between appoints.
- Cancer Treatment Centers of America answer FAQs about breast cancer and provide a general overview of the disease.
- National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. features straight-forward information on breast cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment.
- Breastcancer.org provides podcast on breast cancer topics as well as information on nutrition and exercise for breast cancer patients.
2. Find Support
Social support has been shown to be a key factor in recovering from psychological and physical ailments, so you may want to consider joining a community of other breast cancer patients and survivors. The people you meet in this communities can provide invaluable insight and advice about the treatment process.
- Cancer Support Community offers an online tool for finding in-person support groups in your area.
- Beyond the Shock is an online community where you can connect with by breast cancer patients and survivors around the world.
- Reach to Recovery is a one-to-one support system that pairs newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with a breast cancer survivor.
- Grief Share offers support for those who have experienced loss of a loved one with thousands of local groups worldwide.
3. Stay Inspired
Though receiving a breast cancer diagnosis is difficult, you can’t let it get you down. Many survivors have created online channels to show you how to keep an upbeat attitude and look forward to life after cancer.
- Ann Silberman was diagnosed with IV breast cancer in 2012 and injects her sharp sense of humor into her inspiring and witty writing on her blog But Doctor, I Hate Pink.
- Nalie Agustin was diagnosed with breast cancer at 24 years old and immediately started her own YouTube channel to vlog about her treatment journey. Now recovered, she continues to raise awareness about the disease through her videos.
- Zolek Mandela is not only Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, she’s also a two-time breast cancer survivor who shares her story through her Instagram account @zolekamendela.
- Aly Taylor didn’t let cancer stop her from becoming a mother. She and her husband adopted two girls and had one of their own, even though her doctors told her pregnancy would be impossible. She shares her story on her Instagram account @alysfight.
- Heather is a runner who documents her efforts to stay healthy, active, and positive throughout breast cancer treatment on her YouTube channel Keep Abreast w/Heather: A Cancer Survivor’s Story.
- Susan Rosen, creator of Let Us Be Mermaids, realistic topics related to breast cancer that you might not get answers to from your doctor, such as if you should tell your children about your diagnosis and what it’s like to vacation with breast cancer.
More Resources for Breast Cancer Awareness Month: