Many were shocked to learn that NFL had recently denied Pittsburgh Steelers running-back, DeAngelo Williams’ request to continue to wear pink to raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Despite his setback however, he still continues to stand out and shout about a disease that is very close to his heart. After losing not just one but FOUR aunts to breast cancer, he then went on to lose his mother to the same shocking disease – a disease that can be treated and survived if caught in the early stages.Mammograms are vitally important in the fight against breast cancer and in order to do good and honor his lost family members, Williams is paying for 53 women to receive mammograms in various centers across the USA. Not just that but he’s already dyed his hair a cool shade of pink and painted his nails to match too. As far as ‘good sports’ go, you can’t get much good-er than DeAngelo Williams.
October is the month for checking your boobs and this goes for men as well as women. Just because we’re rocking our pink hair, nails and shoes / handbags to match doesn’t mean it’s just girls who are affected by breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society around 2,350 cases of breast cancer in men will be newly diagnosed. Around 440 men will die from the disease. Just to give you a little perspective, the disease will kill over 40,000 women.
The whole point of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is just that – to raise awareness of a disease that has the potential to kill you if you don’t take active steps to prevent or look out for it. This is the most common form of cancer among American women and around twelve percent of all women will develop some fort of invasive breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Despite these shocking statistics, there are over 2.8 MILLION women in the USA right now who have survived breast cancer.
This is a disease you CAN beat but you need to keep yourself one step ahead of it.
Although we don’t want to scare you, it has never been so important to check your own body whether you’re male or female. In fact you don’t even need to check your own – you could get your boyfriend / girlfriend / best friend / whoever to check your boobs for you. As long as they’re checked that’s all that counts and there are many cases of a lump being found because of an over-zealous boyfriend who’s easy with his hands.
Sometimes it’s perfectly okay to let him get his hands on your mammary glands!
Check Yourself (Before You Wreck Yourself)
Okay so we just wanted to sing the song but checking yourself is vitally important to ensure any changes in your breasts and breast tissue are spotted and checked out as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter where you do it – in the bath or shower, when you are trying on new bras in the store, when you get ready for bed at night; you just need to make sure you regularly check yourself.
When breast cancer is found early enough the chances of survival and living past five years is 100%.
There’s a five-step ‘program’ if you like to follow to check your boobs. If you have a mirror you can stare into (and pout if you wish), go and stand in front of it. The whole point is to get used to your body – what your boobs look like and feel like on a daily basis. Everyone’s boobs have lumps and bumps that are different to other peoples but it’s when things start to change that you normally find you have a problem on your hands. If you know what your boobs feel like on a normal day, you’ll be able to pick up something early if it was to change…. Such as a lump.
The first stage of your journey is to have a good old look at your mammaries. What size and shape they are, the colouration of the breast and nipples, whether they are even or if one is bigger than the other. Most women (and men) find that this is the case. It’s normal to have one breast bigger than the other.
Over a period of time with repeated checking, you’ll get to know your boobs and this is the first step to recognizing when something changes. It could be something small such as bulging of the skin, or puckering and dimpling. You might find that something about your nipple has changed, perhaps the placement or the shape, maybe even the direction in which it points. It may even have become inverted over time or all of a sudden. You might spot swelling or a rash, maybe even some redness and soreness. These are all things you will want to be on the lookout for when it comes to spotting the signs of breast cancer. That’s what Breast Cancer Awareness Month is all about – making YOU recognize the signs.
In the fight against cancer, you need to learn how to help yourselves.
The second stage in checking your breasts is to raise your arms above your head and look again at your body. You’ll want to look for the same changes as you were looking for in step one.
The third stage is to get to grips with your nipples. Have a play around with them. What do they feel like? If you have any fluid or discharge, this is a sign that something could be wrong so if you notice anything including blood, milky fluid, or even yellow gunk coming out of your nipples, it’s time to get some medical advice.
The fourth stage is when you’ll want to take things to the bedroom. Lie down and this time, instead of looking at your body for signs of changes, have a good old feel around. First with your arms down and then with them raised above your head, roll your hands around your breasts, letting your fingers explore the lumps and bulges that are normal to you. There are YouTube videos out there to help you explore checking your breasts a little closer and if you’re not sure you’re doing it right, have a sneaky peek. We won’t tell anyone!
The fifth stage is to take action when you notice that something has changed. If you notice any of the above or lumps, bumps, new bulges, or any changes that make things different from what they were before (including pain), you should go and see your doctor. Nine times out of ten it’ll be something you won’t need to worry about. On that rare occasion something does go wrong, you can be sure you’re keeping on top of things so that everything can be looked at, diagnosed and treated as early possible if necessary.
Sadly in a world where cancer is all around us, it pays to be on top of your game and when it comes to your body, the only person out there who’s gonna take care of it is little old YOU! So start taking care of it!
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month let’s get people talking just as DeAngelo Williams has done. Go dye your hair pink or paint your nails. Wear cute pink tee’s or your most adorable pink shoes. Have a pink day at work and raise some money for charity, or dress up and look like an idiot just because you can. You can find plenty of ways to raise funds for urgent mammograms and other breast cancer diagnosis and care. Why not have a peek at NationalBreastCancer.org to find fun ways to fundraise and get talking about a disease that SHOULD be talked about more. Let’s go raise some awareness!
More than anything else, before you go raising money for charity, make sure you’re taking care of you.
When was the last time you checked your boobs?