By Mahbuba Matovu

October, the month for breast cancer awareness, is here. I must say, it took me a few good years to realize that breast cancer awareness month was more about educating the masses about the disease, and not about expanding my collection of pink things. Oh wait, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Buba and although I’m new here, I have been about the blogging life for about 3 years now. I would love to spend an entire hour telling you how excited I am to now be a part of the influential ElleAfrique Blogzine, but that’s a story for another day.

Now where were we…ah yes, pink stuff. I’m not saying that buying breast cancer branded items is bad, its just that we get so caught up in supporting the cause financially that we actually forget to equip ourselves with knowledge that could help us understand the disease and possible ways to protect ourselves.

So, without further ado, here are a few facts about breast cancer that you might or might not know. Either way, they will help you increase your personal awareness of breast cancer.

1. Every 13 minutes, a woman dies of breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; according to their statistics, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.

2. Isolation could increase your risk of getting breast cancer

Researchers at the University of Chicago recently revealed that lonely women could be at a greater risk of getting breast cancer. This is because stress and anxiety caused by social isolation can be strong enough to increase the growth of tumors in the breasts.

3. Secondhand smoke could also increase the risk of breast cancer

Secondhand smoking could be just as bad as actual smoking because both parties are inhaling the same harmful particles. Chemicals from tobacco smoke reach breast tissue and can even be found in breast milk.

4. The best time to do a breast exam is after your period starts

I will leave it to these guys to show you how to perform a self-breast exam. The best time to do this exam however is 3-5 days after the start of your period. This is because your breasts are not lumpy or tender which reduces your chances of freaking out over a random harmless lump. If you have already hit menopause, have your exam done on the same day each month.

5. Speaking of false alarm lumps…

If you feel a lump in your breast, you should see a doctor as soon as you can; but don’t panic. 80% of lumps turnout to be harmless and non-cancerous.

6. Early detection and treatment could lead to a 96% survival rate

You have a higher chance of winning the breast cancer battle if it gets detected early enough. Estimates detect that 96% of women who start breast cancer treatment early enough will be cancer-free in five years.

7. Breast implants may lower your risk

As much as the highest risk factors like family history and age are outside your control, there are a few things here and there that you can do to reduce your risk factors. One of them is by getting breast implants. Remember that time when Angelina Jolie revealed that she decided to get a double mastectomy in order to reduce her 87% risk of getting breast cancer? She replaced her breasts with implants because implants reduce the amount of tissue available for a tumor to form.

8. And now to conclude with some foods that could help reduce your risk of breast cancer

Salmon, flax seeds and nuts are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help fight breast cancer. Foods like broccoli have also been shown in research to block tumor growth. And finally, foods rich in carotenoids like carrots, oranges and sweet potatoes are known to be rich in vitamin A which puts women at a lower risk of breast cancer.

Learn more about breast cancer here and don’t forget to share and spread the knowledge.

Happy October, Buba.