The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign dedicated to helping raise awareness about the effects of breast cancer. In the United States, the average risk of a woman developing breast cancer is one in eight. Therefore, it is crucial to educate yourself and others about this illness. Early diagnosis can help patients have better outcomes and reduce the need for extensive surgeries. With the right treatment and early detection, there is a better chance of the cancer being cured. By recognizing the cause it allows more people to gain access to screening and different testing options. Along with many other factors, genetics play a huge role in discovering breast cancer.
Many Jews, specifically Ashkenazi Jews, have a higher chance of carrying the BRCA gene, which is also known as the breast cancer gene. Women with this gene have a one in two chance of developing breast cancer before the age of seventy. For this reason, it is important for women and men to get screened. Knowledge is power. There are two types of testing: at-home test kits, and genetic testing. A fact many choose to ignore is that breast cancer can affect men as well. Though the chances of men being diagnosed with breast cancer are much lower, they should still participate in testing. By partaking in professional genetic testing, which also includes BRCA testing, men and women can take preventative actions against cancer.
There are many ways to spread awareness about breast cancer and to help assist patients such as supporting, donating, and volunteering. Sharsheret is a non-profit that works to help Jewish women and their families face breast cancer. Breast cancer Awareness Month helps make people aware of the dangers of the disease, which can, in turn, help many detect it sooner. As October comes to a close, remember the importance of this month, buy taking action and giving a voice to the iconic pink ribbon.
By: Miriam Cohen (9th grade)