EDITORIAL: Breast Cancer Awareness Month should be met with action, attention from men and women across the globe


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Mount Pleasant senior Lauren Grawburg shows her tattoo on her wrist and her sister, Leah Lyons, shows her tattoo on her arm with writing from their late mother, Beth Ann Grawburg. She and her sister got the tattoos to carry their mom with them everyday.

At the start of October — dubbed Breast Cancer Awareness Month — we publish our pink edition, a staple of Central Michigan Life's coverage. We do this not because we have to, but because we want to.

We want to be able to share the stories of a pervasive disease that one-in-eight women and one-in-1,000 men will statistically be diagnosed with in their lifetime. There's a one-in-37 chance, according to the American Cancer Society, a woman will die from it. In an average class size of 20 to 25 people, three women will be diagnosed. In a lecture hall-sized class, that means statistically, one of your female classmates could die from this disease.

We want to show the impact this disease has on survivors, loved ones and those who didn't make it. For students with mothers, aunts, grandmothers or even siblings who have died of breast cancer, this month is personal. This month shows this disease is indiscriminate — data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows white and black women are diagnosed at the same rate, but black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than any other race.

More to the point, we want to use this as a chance for advocacy.

With how crazy our world can be sometimes — between natural disasters, political divisiveness and how hectic life can be — it's easy to forget about your physical health. It's easy to push off a doctor's appointment until tomorrow — you have homework to do, work to go to and bills to pay. You have other things to do.

This is the time of year when we say: Put your health first.

Only 5 percent of breast cancers are diagnosed in women under 30. That doesn't mean it can't happen to you or the woman sitting next to you in class — or even the man three rows in front of you. 

Proactive measures could be the difference between peace of mind and letting a serious disease go unchecked. This could even be as simple as doing a self-exam in the shower before starting your day: move the pads of your fingers circularly from nipple to armpit to check for thick tissue or that telltale lump.

Don't fall victim to putting it off until tomorrow.

Check yourself to protect yourself.

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