Every October, the planet comes together to create awareness amongst the population regarding breast cancer, which affects 1 in 8 women over the course of their lifetimes. As the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer for women in Canada, it touches females across various age categories regardless of their family histories, in addition to some men. At the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation, every month of the year is dedicated to making a difference for the breast cancer cause. Furthermore, on October 1st, we call upon all Quebeckers to join us in multiplying our impact.
The Pink October campaign goes beyond creating awareness. It also aims to raise funds for the advancement of research, and thereby to increase the survival rate. The current net survival rates after 5 years are 88% for women, 80% for men, and only 22% for patients affected by metastatic breast cancer (stage 4). At the Foundation, our mission is to attain a survival rate of 100% to ensure a future in which breast cancer is no longer fatal. We need you as an ally!
Serving and supporting people affected by breast cancer and their loved ones is part of our DNA and constitutes an essential component of Pink October. The Foundation therefore takes care of those you love on a daily basis, so nobody is left to face cancer alone.
Screening for breast cancer at an early stage increases the chances for survival and accessibility to more effective treatments. Through adopting specific practices, it’s possible to put all of the chances of success on your side.
Go for a mammogram
Mammography is a form of radiography of the breast tissues that is carried out to obtain detailed images from different angles. It enables anomalies to be detected, even in breasts that appear to be healthy. Mammography often enables cancer to be found at an earlier stage, so chemotherapy can be avoided.
Mammography screening is offered free of charge every 2 years to Quebeckers aged 50 to 69. While it’s not infallible, it is currently the most reliable method, and also known as a factor in the reduction of breast cancer mortality. Inform yourself about mammography!
Learn to recognize the signs
tests from a younger age, are possibly less concerned about breast cancer. However, it’s important to be capable of identifying the signs and symptoms, as breast cancer can develop at all ages – and even between two medical exams.
There are multiple signs of breast cancer, the most frequent of which is a painless mass or swelling in the breast. Other signs include:
- Recent changes in the size or shape of the breast
- An increase in the number of lymph nodes affected
- Spontaneous unilateral discharge from the nipple
- Persistent eczema or ulceration of the nipple
- Recent retraction (inversion) of the nipple
- Hollowness (retraction) or swelling (bulging) of the skin
- Skin thickening or hardening
- Recent skin redness or newly visible veins
Speak to your doctor if you notice any changes. For a complete list of signs and symptoms, consult our Breast Observation Guide!
Know one’s family history
A person with a family history of breast cancer, or with a family member who has a specific gene mutation (for example, BRCA1, BRCA2) has a higher risk of developing breast cancer. In families with genetic predispositions, the following scenarios are often found:
- Cancers at a younger age (for example, before 50 years)
- More than one cancer, of the same type or not, affecting a single person
- Rare cancers, such as ovarian cancer or breast cancer in a male
- Many family members affected by the same type of cancer
Feel free to discuss any concerns you may have regarding genetic predisposition to breast cancer with your doctor, who will be able to refer you to a genetics service near you, where you can consult a specialist in order to evaluate your personal risk.
You’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer or one of your loved ones lives with the illness? The Foundation is there to support and guide you throughout this difficult period. We offer the following services:
Are you familiar with the expression “every penny counts”? This is our belief at the Foundation, which is why we encourage everyone to contribute in their own way. Options include:
Show your support
All throughout the month of October, The Foundation invites you to participate in its “Let your light shine!” campaign. Pick up one of our pink light bulbs to illuminate your balcony as a gesture of support and solidarity with people affected by breast cancer and their loved ones. Purchase your light bulb online in our Pink Shop: https://rubanrose.org/en/product/1-led-bulb-pink/.