breast cancerBy Kathryn Menue


BOONE COUNTY – In honor of October being breast cancer awareness month, people should know the signs for breast cancer to help spread awareness about the disease and what measures people can take to monitor their bodies for signs of breast cancer.

People have heard the frightening statistics, including that about 62,290 new cases were confirmed in 2015 and that about 40,290 individuals lost their lives to breast cancer according to the American Cancer Society.

With these outstanding numbers, people have also heard the heart-wrenching stories of people who are fighting or have fought and lost their lives to breast cancer. People have also heard the uplifting tales of the women (and in some cases men) who have fought and won the life-threatening battle against breast cancer.

Even with all of the statistics and stories spreading hope and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, a concern still remains that some individuals may not know the warning signs that could lead them to receive needed treatment faster.

According to the Susan G. Komen non-profit organization, dedicated to finding the cure for breast cancer, breast cancer screenings are a useful tool in catching breast cancer at an early stage.

“Breast cancer screening can help find breast cancer early, when the chances of survival are highest,” the Susan G. Komen foundation said. “Breast cancer screening is important for all women, no matter their level of risk. Women at higher risk may need breast cancer screening earlier and more often than women at average risk.”

The Susan G. Komen foundation knows that one of the most helpful tools is for women of average age (or younger if breast cancer runs in the family) to receive a screening to help catch the carcinogens sooner to improve the odds of survival.

However, even though men can have breast cancer, screenings may not be a healthy option for them.

“Breast cancer screening is not recommended for most men. However, some men have a higher risk of breast cancer and should get screened,” the Susan G. Komen organization said.

For those who should not go through regular mammography screenings, the Susan G. Komen organization suggests other methods for diagnosing.

“Due to the use of regular mammography screenings, most breast cancers in the U.S. are found at an early stage, before signs appear,” the non-profit organization said. “However, not all breast cancers are found through mammography.”

In times where mammograms are unavailable or not an option, women can perform their own body examinations if they know the telling signs of breast cancer.

According to the foundation, warning signs of breast cancer can include a “lump, hard knot, or thickening inside the breast or underarm area, pulling in of the nipple or other parts of the breast, nipple discharge that starts suddenly, or new pain in one spot that does not go away.”

Nevertheless, the Susan G. Komen organization does warn that some of these symptoms may not mean that a woman has breast cancer.

“In most cases, these changes are not cancer. For example, breast pain is more common with benign breast conditions than with breast cancer. However, the only way to know for sure is to see a provider. If you have breast cancer, it is best to find it at an early stage, when the chances of survival are highest.”

The Susan G. Komen non-profit organization also warns that “many women may find that their breasts feel lumpy. Breast tissue naturally has a bumpy texture. Some women have more lumpiness in their breasts than others. In most cases, this lumpiness is no cause to worry.”

Nonetheless, if sudden changes do occur to the breast region in women or men, the best solution is to see a primary care physician to make sure that the concerns are in fact not linked to breast cancer. If they are, treatment can be readily available to help fight the progression of the cancer and to hopefully kill off the carcinogens to lead to remission.

Knowing the warning signs of breast cancer can help spread awareness and help save more lives.

Most of the information from this article was provided by the courtesy of Heritage Woods Resident Services Coordinator Robin Buzinski, who wants to help bring awareness for the fight against breast cancer.

Along with wanting this information passed along, she coordinated a pink balloon release at Heritage Woods on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.

For more information on this event, please review the Tuesday, Oct. 20 edition of the Belvidere Daily Republican newspaper, or visit the BDR website at

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