Being diagnosed with cancer is a traumatizing experience. There are many who were lucky enough to arrest the cancer in its early stages but sadly, there are others who only saw the signs a little too late.
Already, cancer is a leading cause of death all over the world and one thing that can help change that is awareness. People are encouraged to look out for the signs and educate themselves more on the different types of cancer, hence the promotion of months like Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month falls on October, which is fast approaching. This is a chance for all of us to learn different facts about breast cancer and some of the ways we can show support.
Here is what you need in 2022 as we approach the cancer month.
Breast cancer is still one of the most common types of cancers in Kenya
Kenya, like other third-world nations, struggles with cancer control. Thousands of cases of cancers like prostate, colorectal and cervical cancer come up every year and there is still a lot to be done to create more awareness.
2020 statistics highlighted in The ASCO post showed that breast cancer is among the top, if not the leading type of cancer in the country. There are many cases spread across different counties and in places like Western Kenya, there is an aggressive form of breast cancer according to research highlighted by BMC Cancer.
Older women have a higher risk
As we age, our bodies start to break down. And when it comes to breast cancer, the older you are, the higher the risk.
The breakdown and mutation of our genes expose us to a higher breast cancer risk. Certainly, younger women can also get breast cancer as well but if you are older, around 50 years and above, you should go for screenings often.
Men can also develop breast cancer
Breast cancer is mainly connected to women and that is because women are the ones who are more at risk due to hormonal fluctuations.
At the same time, men can also develop breast cancer. Although rare, men should also be aware of common symptoms like lumps, discharge and skin discoloration around the breast area.
You can contribute to a cause
In the spirit of breast cancer awareness, you have a chance to donate to patients across the county. Foundations like Africa Cancer Foundation help to donate foodstuffs to cancer patients and, you can even sign up as a volunteer for their projects.
There are also other platforms like Cancer Free Women where you can sponsor a patient's mammogram.
You have a part to play
The government has started many cancer awareness initiatives and is working to increase the number of screening and chemotherapy centers. This is good news but Breast Cancer Awareness Month needs all of us to do our part as well in creating awareness.
Something as simple as helping people be more aware of self-tests and the importance of going for screening can save someone's life.
There are many people who have heard of breast cancer but have never understood some of the risk factors and signs to look out for so, this is something that we can help others learn even within our own families.
So, talk about it more often.