Every October spotlights breast cancer awareness. I’ve chosen to talk more about the ‘awareness’ part than the other because that’s where I think our focus should be. The facts about this disease are well documented, so I won’t spend much time on all of them, but there are a few that I believe are important.

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 268,600 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women alone this year. A number that we don’t often hear discussed is the number of new cases in men. In 2019, the estimate for men is 2,670. The difference in the figures is staggering (and conjures a litany of questions for another time). The forecast for cases in men is less than 1% of that for women. While breast cancer in men is rare, it does exist and is often diagnosed at later stages than in women. These late-stage diagnoses usually contribute to a worse prognosis.

So why am I sharing these not-so-pleasant details with you? As the adage goes, “the devil is in the details.” They are sobering, but your awareness of them and how it could potentially affect you or someone you know is critical. Men and women need to understand their risks and possible ways to reduce them. Know what looks and feels typical for you. If you notice changes in YOUR normal, see your health care provider right away.

Yesterday I had my annual smashogram (a.k.a. mammogram). It is a necessary but not-so-pleasant part of a woman’s health care routine. After I was done, I reflected on my very first one. The nurse gave me explicit instructions and encouraged me not to be alarmed if I got a call back for re-screening because it wasn’t uncommon. I got the call. I was scared. Luckily, things turned out well, but it taught me to pay more attention to my breasts. The self-exams became more important. Looking at myself before, during, or after a shower (and other times) has become a regular part of life. I am sharing these intimate details with you because I want to encourage you to do the same. Know your girls –or whatever you call yours! Know if they are naturally dense or heavy or tender or wrinkled or whatever. If your nipples are usually striped but begin to develop polka dots, you should notice immediately. Know them so that you can identify if something is amiss, God forbid.

The current statistics say that 1-in-8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. In my lifetime, I know nine women who have been diagnosed with this disease. The number of men I know? Just one. Last year I met a fantastic partner in the ‘Know Your Girls’ campaign. (A breast health and education campaign aimed at black women, who are reported to be 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than their white peers.) She was diagnosed with breast cancer at 14 years old. 14! While other girls her age were preparing for high school, she was undergoing breast cancer treatment. As shocking as that is, what’s even more startling is the fact that eighteen years later, she was diagnosed for the second time in the opposite breast.

Awareness is essential not only for you but for those in your circles. Encourage the men and women in your life of all ages and stages to educate themselves on this subject and to have regular screenings. It’s important.

For more information and education to share with your friends and family, take a look at these links:








Subscribe To Our Emails!


You are joining our subscriber list. We are your resource for authentic health & wellness tips and more.


You are now subscribed to tiltandflourish.com!

The Wellness CornerIt’s Breast Self-Awareness Month