Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by Zoey Zelman

The month of October is when we celebrate Halloween, realize it’s getting colder outside, and when we become more aware of the disease that is breast cancer. According to Medical Dictionary, the definition of breast cancer is the development of malignant cells in the breast. This form of cancer is expected to kill 40,290 women in just 2015 though the death rate has been decreasing in the US since 2000. However, about 1 in 8 women in the United States alone will have breast cancer. That’s 12% of the female population. The most common risk factors for acquiring this form of cancer is being female and becoming older, but this disease does not exclude men; about 2,350 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in men this year, which is about 1 in 1,000 men. Finally, if a woman in your family (mother, sister, daughter) has breast cancer history, your chance of having this cancer doubles.

This disease hits close to home for me because in 2009, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, I was ignorant as to what that meant. All I knew was that my mother was sick. She had to go through many surgeries, but from my prospective it was really hard to watch. I saw her become weaker. I saw her with tubes coming out of her body. I watched her become depressed during her treatments. I saw the process, the aftermath, the hospitals, but I also saw the hope. The hope that this disease won’t kill my mom. The hope that this will make her stronger. The hope that made her get out of bed every morning to continue living her life. My mother survived her breast cancer making her one of the strongest women I know, but there are also many others who haven’t.

While talking about breast cancer, the word hope is very powerful. In the entire process of treatment and sometimes remission, the patient and everyone around her/him is hopeful that they will survive and get better. This month is about becoming more aware of breast cancer, but it is also about remembering that no matter what happens, there will always be hope to find a cure.