Once again October is upon us and so is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While the disease affects both men and women, it remains the second leading cause of death among women. Because of this, it’s important to join together this month to discuss and work toward finding a cure. Whether someone close to you has suffered or you simply want to help end it, every single person is welcome to join this fight.

What is Breast Cancer?
Cancer can occur anywhere in the body. It happens when the DNA within a cell becomes damaged, mutating the once healthy host. This mutant then begins to replicate unchecked within the body, invading other, healthier parts. Luckily, with all of the research and work going into officially stopping it, breast cancer rates have been dropping since 1990. This is often attributed to better screening and early detection techniques.

How is it Diagnosed?
Nowadays, there a great many ways to check for breast cancer. The main method is known as a mammogram. This is a special type of x-ray that allows the doctor to find any suspicious tissue. Ultrasounds work the same way as those done for pregnant women, the only difference being it is performed on the breasts. The MRI is another scanning method and provides the most detailed visuals of the breast tissue. Other times, the doctor can remove a small bit of tissue to run a biopsy on. This test determines if the sampled tissue is cancerous or not.

What about Self-Exams?
For early detection, a self-examination method has been developed and can be done in three locations. While bathing, use the fingers to move around the breasts in a circular motion from the outside to the center. If you notice and lumps or hardening knots, have them checked out by a doctor. The exam can also be done in front of a mirror. Simply raise your arms over your head and then flex your chest muscles after putting your hands on your hips. Watch the breasts intently to see if there is any dimpling or puckering. Finally, lie down with a pillow under one shoulder. Like in the bath, use your fingers to check the tissue in a circular motion with different amounts of pressure. Note if there are any strange lumps or discharge from the nipples.

How Can I Help?
While you may not be a millionaire, you can still help the cause and help yourself. During this month, many companies put together products that donate proceeds to breast cancer research. Items like a Murad Hydrate For Hope Set or a AHAVA Deadsea Water Mineral Hand Cream 50% More Breast Cancer Awareness Edition are great ways to keep yourself healthy and clean while helping continue the steady decline of breast cancer.