It’s October, and this means an important conversation needs to be had. Sorry, no pumpkin or costume talk. You may have noticed that during October, there’s a lot of talk surrounding our breasts, and for good reason. October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while it’s rare for young girls under the age of 20 to concern themselves with a disease that mostly affects women over the age of 40, many young girls lack education on breast health. We at the Pretty 2 Me Foundation are tireless advocates of self-love and self-care, and we want to ensure that girls equate loving their bodies with being knowledgeable. It is important for young girls to become familiar with their breasts as their bodies change and develop, and to equip girls with facts about breast cancer and breast health, while eradicating the myths.
While breast cancer is extremely rare in teens/young women, it is still important to be knowledgeable about their breasts as their bodies go through changes. Young girls/teens may experience soreness and tenderness as their breasts develop, and may notice lumps in their breasts. Becoming familiar with your body and developing an early habit of learning how your breasts feel may help distinguish the difference between the lumps one would normally feel (e.g. cysts) and a lump associated with breast cancer.
Breast cancer doesn’t affect young women
While extremely rare, it is a fact that young women can and do get breast cancer. A small percentage, less than 4%, doesn’t equate to zero. All women should concern themselves with breast health.
Bras can cause breast cancer
No matter what you hear, wearing bras will not cause you to get cancer. Believe it or not, false information such as claims that the undergarment restricts the flow of lymph fluids in your breasts and possibly leading to cancer, was widespread enough in the media and online for researchers to conduct a 2014 study (found on breastcancer.org), resulting in the conclusion that there is no link to breast cancer and wearing a bra.
If no one in your family has it, you’re safe
According to the American Cancer society, most women who get breast cancer have no family history; only about 5-10% of breast cancer cases are hereditary.
According to research presented by the American Cancer Society, there are factors, both within and out of one’s control that can potentially affect one’s risk for breast cancer. Some of these risk factors include having a family history of breast cancer, an inherited gene that causes the disease, and race & ethnicity. You can potentially reduce your risk by reducing alcohol consumption, not smoking, and being physically active.
It is important to note that a risk factor does not guarantee you will get the disease, and less risk factors does not mean you are guaranteed not to.
Girls, Take Care Of Your Girls
It is normal to pay attention to your breasts as your body develops. You will pay attention to the size, shape, and how they look in clothes. Be comfortable in your body, love the size and shape of your breasts, take pride in the way you carry yourself, and make the health of your breasts and your overall being a top priority.
For more information on breast cancer, please visit the American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer.html