October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a disease that affects 1 in 8 American women, we want to help spread awareness of this disease that affects so many of us. To learn even more vital information, please visit The National Breast Cancer Foundation's Website.
Early detection gives you the best chance at beating breast cancer, but did you know there are often signs before you feel a lump? Read on to learn early signs of breast cancer.
5 early signs of breast cancer
1 in 8 american women are affected by breast cancer - early detection is key
A New Mole
Moles are usually linked to skin cancer, but that's not always the case. One study conducted on 6000 women, showed that women who have more moles had a 13% higher risk of getting breast cancer. Another study showed that women with 15 or more moles, have 35% higher risk of getting breast cancer. If you notice a new mole on your body or if your mole starts to bleed, itch or change its color and shape, see professional help.
Sore throat, dry cough and shortness of breath can be an indicator that the cancer cells have spread to the lungs. This is known as a secondary breast cancer and it happens in 65-70% of women who become terminally ill. Unfortunately, most people overlook these symptoms because they’re similar to the common cold and flu.
Some of the main symptoms of breast cancer include constipation, abdominal bloating, bladder incontinence and tenderness. Breast cancer causes hormonal changes that affect the organ function and digestion. Cancer really messes up the hormones and can upset the digestive system. Loss of appetite, unexpected weight loss, swelling, abdominal or pelvic pain can all indicate that something is happening in your body.
Eight out of 10 people experience back pain at some point in their life. Bad posture, prolonged sitting, arthritis and injuries increase the risk of back pain. On the other hand, back pain can also be an indication of breast cancer cells spreading to the spine. Back pain related to breast cancer comes from the bone and it puts pressure on the ribs and spine. The horrible pain can weaken the bones, leading to fractures. The pain is often accompanied by tiredness, constipation, thirst, confusion, irritability and nausea.
It’s the most common sign of cancer. Sometimes fatigue can be also an indication of hormonal imbalance and thyroid disorders. When the fatigue is caused by cancer, it won’t go away when you get plenty of rest. It’s often accompanied by poor sleep, depression and constant pain. Studies show that 9 out of 10 breast cancer patients experience fatigue.
We’ll say it one more time: early detection is the key to surviving! The sooner you get diagnosed, the sooner you can start with treatment! Some of the most overlooked signs of breast cancer include: heartburn, upset stomach, menstrual changes, lymph nodes in the armpit, nipple discharge, hard knots, lumps and swelling! In the early stages, breast cancer can cause loss of balance, headaches, difficulty urinating, numbness and constant nausea. If you notice these symptoms and they don’t go away within 2 weeks, seek medical help.
Source: Women Daily Magazine
Have a friend or loved one battling breast cancer? After consulting a cancer survivor and chemo nurse we've compiled our guide to crafting an uplifting and useful care package. Read below for details and links to our picks!
Breast Cancer Care Package Ideas:
1. Ginger Candy or Tea - Ginger helps to ease the effects of chemo, like extreme nausea and digestive issues. Try this Biodynamic Ginger Tea from The Republic of Tea.
2. Head Scarf - When losing hair due to chemotherapy, scarves are often the easiest and most comfortable head covering. A fun way to show your style, this gorgeous option from Etsy is pre-tied and made specifically for chemo patients to stay comfy with a newly bald head.
3. Slippers - With so much time at home recovering, a great pair of cozy slippers is a must. We love this super fluffy option.
4. Silk Pillowcase - Silk and fleece are the two best fabrics for an ultra-sensitive, newly bald scalp. For great quality and the prettiest color, check out this option.
5. Good Quality Water Bottle - Chemotherapy dries out every part of the body and hydration is key to helping get the best results. A great quality (and fun to look at) water bottle makes for an essential gift. We love this Hyrdo Flask Prism Pop Edition in Bubblegum.
6. Beautiful & Inspiring Magazine - With lots of down time during treatment and recovery, a beautiful magazine can be a great distraction. Origin is a gorgeous publication focusing on all aspects of wellness.
7. Stationary - Pretty note cards, letter sets or stationary is a great useful gift for writing letters or thank you notes to friends, family & doctors. We love this pretty floral set we found on Etsy.
8. Warm & Cozy Socks - Enemas are a common treatment along with many cancer treatments, meaning you're ALWAYS cold. You can't go wrong with a cozy pair of socks.
9. Gift Cards - When all else fails, give a gift card. Restaurant gift cards to feed the family or gas cards for driving to doctor appointments are great options. You also can't go wrong with gift cards for a spa day, yummy treat or their favorite place to shop.
10. Cozy Zip Up or Button Up - Post surgery, the biggest struggle is arm movement. No vertical arm movement means nothing going over the head. Pajamas, cozy clothes or robes that zip, button or can easily layer are needed. We love this sherpa vest with deep pockets that is easy to layer!
11. Natural Ultra Hydrating Lip Balm - The dry, cracked skin problem means constant application of a great, natural lip balm. This Aveda Lip Saver is a worth every penny! Super soothing and moisturizing and without any strong flavors that could cause nausea.
Pink Ribbon Projects are a series of simple crafts put together by the Sparkles of Sunshine blog. Need a project for fall? Learn how to make a mastectomy comfort pillow, seat belt cover and chemo cap - great for gifts or to donate to local hospitals!
Click on the photos for instructions to these meaningful craft projects!
Check out Sparkles of Sunshine's many other breast cancer centered blog posts!
Don't forget to get your yearly mammogram (if applicable) and to be checking regularly for lumps, swelling, irritation, or redness. The best protection is early detection. 💕