Research Paper on Breast Cancer

Research Paper on Breast Cancer

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Raising Awareness about Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most pressing health issues in the United States and worldwide. Statistics shows that one in eight American women develop invasive breast cancer over the course of a lifetime (Breastcancer.org, 2017). It means that thousands of women suffer from this disease annually and many of them die (DeSantis et al., 2013). Breast cancer affects all women irrespectively of their race and ethnicity (CDC, 2016). Its risk factors include age, gene mutations inherited from first-degree relatives, lifestyle, and negative environmental factors. However, the nature of this type of cancer is still not well-understood. During the past decades, the number of deaths from breast cancer has been decreasing, mainly due to increased awareness and improved screening and diagnosis approaches (Mayo Clinic, 2016). In this research paper, the author discusses the importance of cancer education and describes the most effective approaches to raising public awareness of this problem.

The importance of early identification and treatment of breast cancer cannot be overestimated. There is a set of symptoms and warning signs that signal the development of this disease. These include changes in size or appearance of a breast, lumps or thickening, skin changes, inverted nipples, redness, etc. (Mayo Clinic, 2016). If any of these symptoms are present, a woman should visit a doctor and undergo a mammogram. Notably, more treatment options are available when the disease is detected at an early stage, so regular mammography screening is strongly recommended for all women, especially 30-40 years and older (Heywang-Köbrunner, Hacker, & Sedlacek, 2011). Cancer diagnosed at an early stage, before it gets too big or spreads to other tissues is more likely to be treated successfully, so women need to be aware of the crucial importance of timely screening.

Because many women discover breast cancer symptoms themselves, it is critical that they have the knowledge and confidence to detect early signs and seek help promptly (O’Mahony et al., 2017). Therefore, national and international health organizations and NGOs often undertake public campaigns to increase women’s awareness of this disease. Some health campaigns focus on raising the general awareness, whereas other campaigns have more specific goals, such as encouraging women to undergo regular screening or maintaining healthy lifestyles (Jacobsen & Jacobsen, 2011). These campaigns can take a variety of forms including advertisements, social media posts and videos, posters, conferences, community events, and so on. Sometimes, celebrities are involved in public campaigns to attract public attention to the problem or speak about their own experience of fighting breast cancer.

One of the most recent and creative campaigns that should be mentioned is called #KnowYourLemons (Nedelman, 2017). A British designer Corrine Beaumont who started the Worldwide Breast Cancer charity found a clever way to educate women on the most common breast cancer symptoms. She used the picture of 12 lemons, each showing one sign of breast cancer, such as, for example, skin erosion, redness or heat, dimpling, growing vein, etc. This image shows that contrary to the widespread belief, not only a lump can be a sign of cancer. According to Beaumont, using this positive image is an effective and practical method of educating women because many of them find traditional education using graphic breast cancer images repelling (The Telegraph, 2017). Besides, even women with limited health literacy or language skills can understand the image and detect similar signs promptly. It is important to highlight that campaigns like these are growing more popular and powerful as many women use social media and the Internet in general to find information about diseases.

Furthermore, a case study by Hill and Hayes (2015) aimed to investigate people’s reactions to the breast cancer awareness campaign. Analysis of participants’ feedback regarding a Facebook campaign revealed the importance of distinguishing between awareness and attention and awareness and knowledge. Hill and Hayes (2015) explained that simply drawing people’s attention to the problem is not effective. Specific information concerning symptoms, risk factors, and treatment should be provided to enact meaningful behavioral changes and encourage people to act. The goal of any educational campaign is not to scare people but to offer practical knowledge on how to monitor their health and seek help when any changes are detected.

Numerous studies have been conducted to evaluate the impact of public awareness campaigns on the number of breast cancer diagnoses, death rates, and screening levels (Al-Shehri, 2015; Salawu, 2016; Swenson, 2013). For example, a recent study by O’Mahony et al. (2017) aimed to analyze the results of two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that assessed the effects of educational interventions. It has been found that education increased women’s perceived susceptibility and knowledge of breast cancer symptoms. It also improved cancer preventive behaviors and induced women to perform self-checks. However, O’Mahony et al. (2017) noted that more large-scale, longitudinal research is required to establish the connection between education and improved health outcomes. It is important to determine what approaches work best and how women can be empowered to take care of themselves.

To summarize, despite advancements in diagnosis and treatment, breast cancer remains a serious public health issue worldwide. The problem is that women cannot often detect this disease at an early stage because of the lack of knowledge about its symptoms and warning signs. As a result, they miss the chance of initiating timely treatment before cancer gets invasive. Therefore, raising women’s awareness of the problem and providing them with practical recommendations on how to detect cancer is critical for reducing mortality rates. Health organizations can use a variety of methods to educate women, such as community events, advertisement, social media posts and videos, and so on. Through these educational interventions, women can reduce their fear of cancer and become more confident in managing their health.