Community and Civic Engagement Snapshot: Breast Cancer Awareness

While this transcript focuses heavily on cisgender women, all people regardless of gender identity are at risk of Breast Cancer. 

Welcome to the CCE Snapshot, my name is Lillian and today we’re going to be talking about Breast Cancer Prevention. Fortunately 9 years later she is still cancer free, but Breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide according to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. And while research into Breast Cancer is so critical to understand risk factors, how breast cancer behaves, the biggest way you can make a difference is by learning who is more at risk of developing breast cancer over their lifetime and how to detect breast cancer early. Early detection is a major way we can save lives and increase your chances of survival. 

Lillian: Alright so let’s learn a little bit about breast cancer. So Lynn, did you know that 1 in 8 womxn are going to be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime?

Lynn: That’s a lot!

Lillian: Yeah, and Asian American Pacific Islanders will get breast cancer at a rate of about 9% according to MD Anderson.

Lynn: That’s also a lot!

Lillian: There are some risk factors for breast cancer that you can’t change, like age, genetic mutations in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, or family history. And there are some risk factors you can change like diet, exercise, your hormone levels, etc. Lynn, as a Nursing major who is more at risk of breast cancer?

Lynn: Like you said about your genes, anyone who has a family history of cancer, anyone who has BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. Everyone has those genes but if you have a mutated gene you’re at a higher risk of tumors and cancers, just because those genes help you prevent that. 

Lillian: I didn’t know that.

Lynn: So what’s the best way to increase my chances of survival against breast cancer?

Lillian: Number 1 is to know your risk factors. Get tested to see if you have mutations in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to get it, it just means that you need to go in for mammograms and preventive screening more often. Also eating healthy, exercising regularly, avoiding or limiting alcohol intake are great ways to reduce your chances of getting breast cancer. But the biggest way you can increase your chances of survival is making sure you’re performing breast self examinations often. If you’re aware of what your body should feel like, and you notice an abnormality early on, it’ll really increase your chances of fighting it.

Lillian: So we’re going to switch guests really quickly to talk about breast self examinations! Alex, as you may know men are actually able to get breast cancer as well, just at lower rates than womxn. So with that can you lift up your left hand? All the way up? You’re going to want to take 3 fingers and make a wiggly motion, and press that firmly into your armpit area. And you’re going to want to press and cover that entire armpit surface area. What you want to feel for are lumps, bumps, anything you didn’t feel from the month before. And you’ll do that in a spiral covering your entire pectoral area, all the way into the center. All good?

Alex: No lumps!

Lillian: That’s great! And you’ll want to repeat that on both sides and do that about once a month. But with that, thank you so much for helping us inform our audience about breast cancer. Please share this information with your friends and family, but thank you so much!