October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and KeaBabies is going to honor this in several ways. Firstly, during the month of October, KeaBabies is going to donate 10% of the proceeds from keababies.com to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). Second, throughout the month, we’ll be sharing facts about breast cancer and breast cancer prevention on our Facebook page, KeaBabies Love. Be sure to check the group for more information!
About 12% of women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Although the rate of breast cancer has decreased since 2000, it remains a very prevalent disease. In 2019 alone, it is projected that 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the US. A woman’s risk of breast cancer just about doubles if she has an immediate relative with breast cancer.
Did you know that breastfeeding reduces your risk of breast cancer? Several research studies have pointed to this fact, but it’s been hard to narrow down exactly how breastfeeding reduces that risk. A study conducted in 2002 showed that for every 12 months of breastfeeding, a woman’s risk of breast cancer decreased by 4.3%. Similarly, a 2009 study showed that for nursing mothers, the risk of developing breast cancer went down by about 60% for women with a family history of breast cancer. Breastfeeding seems to reduce the risk of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.
But why? No one really knows. Perhaps it could be due to the fact that women who breastfeed are exposed to less estrogen in their lifetime due to the decreased number of menstrual cycles (estrogen has been linked to certain types of breast cancer). Breastfeeding could also make breast cells more resistant to cancer-causing mutations. It could also be lifestyle factors as well. Breastfeeding women tend to be more cautious about habits that are potentially dangerous to their infants, such as drinking and smoking, and this has been linked to a lower risk of breast cancer.
Even if you have supply issues or choose to supplement with formula, it seems that any amount of breastfeeding reduces your risk of breast cancer. More research needs to be done in order to make more conclusive claims, though.
Breast cancer seems to have a hereditary component to it. A woman’s risk of breast cancer just about doubles if she has an immediate relative (like a mother or sister) that has breast cancer. About 5-10% of breast cancers come from gene mutations inherited from someone’s mom or dad. The main risk factors of breast cancer are age and gender - the risk is higher for women than men and higher for older women than younger women.
Breast cancer symptoms can vary widely, but there are several common ones that many women experience. According to the American Cancer Society, you should look out for the following: breast swelling, skin irritation/dimpling, breast pain, nipple pain, changes in nipple or breast skin (such as redness, scaliness, or thickening), changes in the size or shape of your breasts, dimpling or puckering skin, nipple discharge, and underarm lumps.
If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor. Thankfully, most “lumps” or bumpiness that women find are not cancerous. If you experience nipple discharge or discharge that is bloody or clear, give your doctor a call.
This year alone, it is projected that there will be over 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer. It is vital that you stay vigilant in knowing the signs and symptoms and performing periodic self-exams.
This month, you can take a stand with KeaBabies and support breast cancer awareness. During the month of October, 10% of all purchases made on our website will go directly to breast cancer research.
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.