Blog Article

Breast cancer awareness: What you should know and what you can do to help.

When is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; a time when people throughout the U.S. run, walk, raise funds and do what they can to increase awareness. American Cancer Society findings indicate this disease is estimated to be the cause of death for 43,170 women and 530 men in 2023. In addition:

  • As of 2021, breast cancer became the most common cancer globally, accounting for 12 percent of all new annual cancer cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
  • Knowing one’s family history is important, yet 80-85 percent of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history, according to the National Library of Medicine.
  • One in eight U.S. women, around 13 percent, will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.

Breast Cancer in Seniors

Older age increases the risk of several types of breast cancer. However, advancements in diagnosis and highly individualized treatment plans are increasing the odds of recovery for older patients and making it possible for many to live longer, healthier lives. Some facts for older adults to consider:

  • According to the National Cancer Institute, women 70 and older have a one in 14 chance of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives. Men can also get breast cancer.
  • Treatment is dependent on the individual and may include surgery, hormone-blocking pills, targeted radiation or a combination of these therapies. Chemotherapy is used occasionally.
  • Healthy, active, independent patients have the best chance of a good outcome.

Support Someone with Breast Cancer

When the need to get involved and make a difference is strong, there are organized events such as Race for the Cure. If breast cancer hits close to home and a friend or family member has been diagnosed, there are several ways to support them during their journey. The side effects of treatment, for example, make it difficult for people to do daily activities such as housework, shopping and caring for their family. Keeping the person’s individual needs in mind, your support may include:

  • Transporting to and from hospital appointments
  • Cleaning and vacuuming
  • Washing clothes and ironing
  • Gardening or yard work
  • Cooking meals for freezing
  • Taking children to or from school and activities
  • Babysitting
  • Shopping and pharmacy runs
  • Walking dogs
  • Organizing pantries or closets to make items more accessible

Simply being available is the most important thing you can do to support your friend or family member. Include them in plans and let them decide if they’ll attend. Accompany them to doctors’ appointments to serve as a “second pair of ears,” join them for a movie, check in with a call or text, or just sit and listen when they need to talk. Sometimes the only thing someone needs is a hug and, surely, we all have one of those to share.

Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbons

During the month of October, you’ll notice people wearing pink ribbons. These breast cancer ribbons have become universal symbols of the breast cancer cause, raising awareness and bringing people together in solidarity. Making your own ribbons is easy and wearing them throughout October shows your support for those battling breast cancer.

Ongoing, Dedicated Awareness is Critical.

While October is an important month to spotlight breast cancer, the need for awareness isn’t limited to one month. Every day is an opportunity to make a difference. Help get the word out about the importance of health screenings and take a moment to consider how you can support your community, friends and family members. When we work together, a little time and effort go a long way.


Written By

Kayla Meek

Meek brings over 10 years of senior living experience advocating for resident quality of life and wellness. Her focus has been on training and education with a passion for building programs that improve both the resident and team experience and tracking results through meaningful data points. Meek holds an MSN from Augusta University, an MPH from the University of Georgia and many certifications.

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