October has always been a near and dear month to us, not only because Iris was born on October but it’s also a month that raises an awareness that is very dear to our hearts.
Cancer is scary, no matter what form it comes in. It is everyone’s common enemy, it’s something that has affected everyone of us and it may have even taken away someone close to us. We know it has taken away many close to our hearts.
Breast cancer in particular has been one that has affected us quite closely and like all sickness, it can bring the strongest woman/man to their knees. It’s scary but with early detection and treatment women can begin to fight back against this deadly form of cancer.
Sickness is scary no doubt and it is important to reach out for love and support from your friends and family during these difficult times. Coming from an Asian background, it is surprising how often people try to hide it because they either feel shameful or they don’t want to worry others about it.
Like all sickness, no one wished for it or deserves it but we certainly can understand why the different stages of emotions that kicks in. The unknown is innately horrifying to us, so the best way to manage it, is to stay ahead and educate yourself and those around you.
There’s a Chinese saying ‘A single twigs breaks easily but a bundle of twigs is strong’. So to be prepared under any circumstances to love and support one another would make the process a lot more manageable. Most importantly to stay ahead.
What is Breast Cancer
Ways to Keep Yourself Ahead
A few things you can do in order to keep on top of your breast health
- Know Your Body. Knowing the way you breast feels and look different times of your monthly cycle is very important. Simply just pay attention and don’t be shy. Look and feel as much as you can so that you know what your normal feels like. You are you first line of defence. The moment you notice something abnormal, go and have it checked out right away.
- Mammograms. Yearly mammograms at age 40 and above for those at average risk of developing breast cancer. If you are considered at a higher risk then please check with your physicians how often they would recommend.
- Clinical Breast Exams. Clinical breast exams by your physicians should be part of a periodic health exam, about every three years for women in their 20s and 30s, and every year for women 40 and older or higher risk ladies.
- Choose a Healthy Lifestyle.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Limit alcohol consumption and don’t smoke.
- Limit postmenopausal hormone use.
- Breastfeed, when possible.
- Gentle breast massages to increase lymphatic moment and blood circulation
What to look out for
- A lump/lumps in or near the breast or in the underarm area
- Unusual changes to the size or the shape of the breast
- A nipple turned inward
- Scaly, rippled, red, or swollen skin on the breast, areola, or nipple
- Nipple discharge (fluid)
- New pain or numbness in one spot that is persistent
- Breast or nipple pain.
Some statistics on Breast Cancer
- 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime
- Breast Cancer is the most common form of Cancer amongst women worldwide
- Breast Cancer accounts for 30% of cancer in women
- 85% of women diagnosed with Breast Cancer has no family history
- Men can also get Breast Cancer
The earlier Breast Cancer is discovered the higher the survival rates
image by Singapore Cancer Society
Different Stages of Breast Cancer
It is crucial to determine the stages of breast cancers as this will determine the best form of treatment in containing and eliminating the breast cancer.
Stages are determined by the following
- The size of the tumour within the breast
- The number of lymph nodes affected
- Signs of the cancer cells spreading beyond the breast to different organs within the body
Below are a few more links to expand you knowledge
There are most likely a local breast cancer foundation where ever you are located, please check out your local site for more information or for ways that you can help support and raise awareness.
Fun ways that you can help
Even though Breast Cancer is a scary and sad thing, it is nice to know people are trying to raise awareness via more fun and creative ways. Most importantly, making the younger generation more aware via more lighthearted approach. Here are some of our favourites:
Via fashion – Stella McCartney and Alicia Keys New Cancer Awareness Campaign
What is better than shopping whilst supporting a charity – even more so if it is lingerie related (in case you didn’t already know of Chris & Iris obsession 😛 )! Stella McCartney has partnered up with Alicia Keys in this years Breast Cancer awareness campaign. Part of the proceeds of the Ophelia Whistling Bralette and the Ophelia Whistling Briefs will go towards the Memorial Sloan Kettering Breast Examination Centre and Linda McCartney Centre. They go on sale on October 1 at StellaMcCartney.com. (#StellaSupport)
What we love about CoppaFeel! is that they make this awareness fun, young and hip. Founded by Breast Cancer survivor Kristin Hallenga and her twin sister Maren, this campaign concentrate on bringing awareness to the younger generation. Kris was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at 23, and she wants to inform young people that breast cancer can happen as early as your 20s and early detection will give you a higher chance of surviving and recovering.
They do a lot of activities with celebrities, schools and universities to bring awareness. They even hold a one day festival FESTIFEEL, curated by Fearne Cotton to raise funds.
Breast Cancer like all things, the more you know, the less scary it becomes. Education and preparation with lots of love and support. Together lets raise awareness and let this month be a month of love, gratitude and celebration for the lives that were lived.
with love & quirks,
Iris & Chris xxx