Until January of this year, October was primarily about birthdays and Halloween.  Lots of my favorite people have birthdays in October, not the least of which are my son and my mother.  Unbeknownst to me then, October is also the Breast Cancer Awareness month.  And it really is.  I’ve already posted on the myriad of strange items plastered with pink ribbons in the name of finding a cure (or at least I hope so.)  So how do I feel about it?  I think that pretty much everybody is aware that breast cancer exists.  The pink has done its job there.  What surprises me is how little information most people have about breast cancer.  There are many people (I used to be one of them) that really don’t give much thought about it.  We know we should do our self exams, but there is this underlying idea that women don’t die of it anymore and I’m too young to get it anyway so I’ll do it next month.  

I think we need to see the faces of young women fighting this disease, because frankly, our stats are not that great.  Lots of the information out there is for older women.  Breast cancer in young women seems to present itself a little differently.  It’s more aggressive and sometimes the lumps hurt (mine did).  And we have a worse prognisis.  Many of us don’t talk about “cancer-free” because even when we are NED (no evidence of disease), every ache or pain brings us right back to that moment of diagnosis when our bodies betrayed us.  As for me, I am cautiously optimistic.  It’s my way of never being caught that unaware again.

So how does this link back to pink?  I guess the pinkness of October doesn’t bother me.  I figure it’s not really for me anyway.  I already know about cancer.  Breast Cancer Awareness month is for you.  So be aware.  Do your exams.  Don’t rely on having no family history.  Don’t rely on having breastfed your children.  Don’t rely on being young.  Donate when you can.  Do your exams.

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