By Maddie Sersic
When we think about October, flashes of auburns, golds, oranges, and browns swirl in our minds. We are settled into school and it’s finally the perfect sweater-weather. You may feel nostalgic about trick-or-treating memories from when you were a child, or maybe you are planning the perfect Halloween costume as I write this. Whatever the case may be October definitely has a strong sense of identity, maybe even more so than other fall months. While pumpkins, ghouls, sweaters, new friends and old, pumpkin spice lattes and more flood our minds, sometimes we forget that October also has another strong identity, as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast cancer is so horribly common that I’m sure all of those who are reading this have someone in their family, a friend, or a friend of friend who has been affected by this life-changing illness. In fact, breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women, resulting in about 1 out of every 8 women experiencing the disease at some point in their life. Luckily, breast cancer is one of the more treatable cancers, and therefore can be stopped if caught early enough. Women need to get mammograms and be screened frequently, and especially if they are between ages 40-49, in order to catch it early enough.
The scariest part about breast cancer is that many women are at a high risk of getting it; however, if you catch it and nip it in the bud early enough, you can survive. Breast Cancer Awareness Month isn’t so much about spreading the word about what breast cancer is, but to help prevent it, and encourage women to keep up with their doctor’s appointments. What you can take away from this is the knowledge that this high-risk disease is out there, and that the power of suggestion to your loved ones to keep on track might just save their lives.
October is a month that holds a strong identity in many ways, however, it is dedicated to the millions of women who lose part of their identity in the blink of an eye. This month is for those who have fought or stood beside someone as they fought for their lives. If you have been affected by breast cancer, thank you for being strong, and wishing you all the best in your journey to come.