Type to search

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Disclaimer: The information in this article should not be substituted for medical advice. Please consult a professional medical doctor if you or a loved one has been affected by breast cancer. 

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer affects millions of people in the United States and internationally every year, especially women. According to breastcancer.org, “[a]bout 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 13%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2021, an estimated 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 49,290 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. About 2,650 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2021. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 833.” 

Nowadays, breast cancer is openly talked about and recognized as a valid form of cancer, but about fifty years ago, this was not the case. Breast Cancer Awareness Month became a nationally-recognized month in 1985. While women predominantly get breast cancer, non-binary people, transgender people, and cisgender men can get breast cancer, too. Breast cancer affects every demographic. 

This topic is very important to me, personally, because my grandmother is a survivor of breast cancer. She was very lucky doctors caught the tumor early, and she was able to have it removed without undergoing long-term treatment for it. I want every person to be able to have the opportunity to be able to access healthcare services that check and detect breast cancer in its early stages. To learn more about breast cancer prevention, I interviewed Jennifer Spiller, a nurse practitioner at Southwestern’s Health Center. 

Grace Parmer: What services does the Health Center offer for breast cancer prevention, if any?”

Jennifer Spiller: “The Health Center begins clinical breast exams with self-breast exam teaching at age 21.’

Grace Parmer:  “What things do you recommend that students here do to take steps to try to prevent breast cancer, or to try to catch it early?”

Jennifer Spiller: “Female students should begin monthly self-breast exam at age 20 to become familiar with their own breast tissue, so they will be better able to notice changes.” 

Grace Parmer: What are the demographics of people who get breast cancer?” 

Jennifer Spiller: “I had to look this up. You can check this website… https://gis.cdc.gov/Cancer/USCS/#/Demographics/ … What you will notice is that black and white women get breast cancer at about the same rate, but black women are more likely to die from breast cancer. (Possibly due to access to care or later diagnosis?)”

Grace Parmer: What can students here do to spread awareness about breast cancer?” 

Jennifer Spiller: “Honestly, I think there is a ton of attention to breast cancer awareness. I think women feel empowered to talk about it and I think most people know someone who was affected by breast cancer. I would like to see more attention on testicular cancer awareness, which is much more likely to affect college-age men. No one talks about that, and young men don’t know they are supposed to perform monthly testicular exams.” 

If you or a loved one is affected by breast cancer, there are resources available: 

The American Cancer Society 


Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

National Breast Cancer Foundation 

Young Survival Coalition 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *