"According to the American Cancer Society, any of the following unusual changes in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer:
- swelling of all or part of the breast
- skin irritation or dimpling
- breast pain
- nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- a nipple discharge other than breast milk
- a lump in the underarm area
These changes also can be signs of less serious conditions that are not cancerous, such as an infection or a cyst. It’s important to get any breast changes checked out promptly by a doctor."
Now that I've mentioned some information about breast cancer, I want to talk about somethings I've noticed about it. Though a man's chances of getting breast cancer are about 100 times less likely, it does still happen. In 2015, it is estimated that 2,350 men will be diagnosed and 440 will die from it. Yes, women are much more likely to get it, but it is something that affects everyone. Second, breast cancer is one of the most talked about cancers. It affects mostly white women. Of course it is important to research and pay attention to, but there are so many other cancers and other diseases/illnesses that affect men and women of every age and race that need much more awareness and funding. Third, the way breast cancer raises awareness is in definite need of change. What do I mean by this?
I remember when I was in middle school and lots of kids (mostly boys) started wearing those 'I love boobies' bracelets. The intention of those bracelets is to show people that you are supportive of those struggling with cancer and to raise awareness for people that have it and to get more support, funding, etc. I don't know how this worked with the adults, but I know that when I was 13-15, these bracelets were just funny to young kids. Boys giggled at the term 'boobies.' Lots of schools started telling kids they couldn't wear them because they were distractions. They weren't taken seriously.
Today has been dubbed 'No Bra Day' and is trending on many social networks as such. What is no bra day? It's exactly as it sounds. It's asking women to not wear bras and to post a picture of themselves on social media not wearing a bra. I looked around and I can't find exactly how this helps breast cancer. At least with the bracelets, part of the funding was still going to research. This No Bra Day, in my opinion, is just sexualizing a serious issue. Me posting a picture on my personal Instagram of me not wearing a bra is not going to help anyone. It's not going to make someone suffering with breast cancer feel better. It's not going to help find a cure or pay anyone's medical bills. But it will give people a chance to see my chest. If anything, I feel like this is a negative thing. Women that have unfortunately needed to receive a mastectomy as a result of their cancer will just be reminded of what they lost. And men who have had breast cancer--how does this help raise awareness for them?? Maybe this day should be about allowing women who have lost their 'boobies' to show us that they are still beautiful without their boobs. Maybe this day should be about desexualizing breasts to the point that the general public doesn't freak out when a women uses them for their nature-intended purpose-breastfeeding. Why is our country okay with women taking topless pictures and going without bras in the name of 'awareness' but not okay with using those breasts to feed their children the way nature intended?
Rethink popular trends such as this. If you want to bring awareness to breast cancer, post some symptoms. Sign the petition to keep funding for Planned Parenthood so women of all ages can be screened for symptoms. Donate to breast cancer research. Look up the statistics and share them. Next time you are in a room with more than eight women, realize that at least one of you will probably develop breast cancer in your lifetime and do something to prevent that--not wearing a bra is not a preventative measure. Of course, no women NEEDS to wear a bra. But if you prefer to, not wearing one on any give day will not prevent someone from dying from a horrible disease.