Over the course of their lifetime, 1 in 8 women in the U.S. are expected to develop an invasive form of breast cancer.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to educate yourself and others about this disease that affects more than 12 percent of all women.
According to breastcancer.org, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. during 2019. That’s not including the estimated 62,930 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
We’ve seen the pink ribbons and the PSAs about checking for lumps, but when it all comes down to it, would you know how to recognize breast cancer if it was invading your body? You could be 1 in 8.
Erin Smith Chieze does. And it’s all because of an image released by knowyourlemons.com.
“In December of 2015 when I saw an indentation that looked like one of those pictures, I instantly knew I had breast cancer,” she wrote on Facebook. “I tried to feel for a tumor, but my tumor was nonpalpable. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 days later and with stage 4 the following month.”
She says self-check reminders and sentimental breast cancer awareness posts on Facebook didn’t educate her on what to look for. But this did.
“I knew what breast cancer was. I knew all about self-exams, but a picture of what to look for keyed me into knowing I had a terminal disease. Without having seen a picture randomly with real information, I wouldn’t have known what to look for.”
Erin wants others to know that spreading awareness is different than showing support and standing in solidarity. It’s so much more than sporting a pink shirt and sharing a hashtag.
“So if you truly want to help people WITH cancer, or those who will GET cancer, share photos like this one.”
Her breast cancer awareness post hits close to home because my mom is 1 in 8.
In 2012, she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer, and I watched for two years as she underwent a double mastectomy and full reconstruction surgery. Nine surgeries and a completely “remodeled” body later, she’s a survivor.
But like Erin, it wasn’t because she wore a pink ribbon and acknowledged the existence of breast cancer. It’s because she knew what to look for, which led doctors to catch the invasive killer in its early stages.
Breast cancer touches all of us. Whether we’ve had it ourselves, or know someone who’s had it, we all have a testimony to the destructiveness and overcoming power of this invasive disease.
So please, “know your lemons,” and share an image today that could literally help someone you love to recognize what breast cancer LOOKS like.
My prayer is that one day nobody will have to endure breast cancer or the life-sucking treatments that are available to destroy it. But until then, may we all spread REAL awareness, and be intentional about what 1 in 8 really looks like.
For more information, visit knowyourlemons.com.