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Breast Cancer Awareness Month And Pets

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Covering The Significance Of Breast Cancer Awareness Month And How It Can Affect Your Pets

October is known for many things including the Fall season, Halloween, and most importantly Breast Cancer Awareness. The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign aimed at raising awareness about the impact of breast cancer. October is also a chance for people to show their support to those affected by breast cancer. But, it’s not just women and their families that are affected by breast cancer. Surprisingly enough, female dogs have an even higher risk of mammary tumors than women do of having breast cancer. Keep reading to learn more about how breast cancer can affect your dog.

Breast Cancer Awareness

The topic of Breast Cancer is widely known and discussed in the medical field thanks to numerous campaigns and organized movements that brought the topic to the general public’s attention. The first organized movement to draw attention to the mortal dangers of breast cancer started in October of 1985 right here in the United States. Since then, the month of October is annually remembered and dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness Month or B.C.A. Month. The goal of this month is to remind people of how real and life threatening breast cancer can be and how many people it truly affects. According to the C.D.C. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) there are roughly 264,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women every year in the United States. Additionally, there are roughly 2,400 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in men every year in the United States. But, it’s not just women and men that are affected by this deadly disease as female dogs and cats are also susceptible to their own variation of breast cancer known as mammary tumors. 

Breast Cancer In Dogs

Mammary tumors in dogs and cats are very similar to human breast cancer tumors on a cellular level. Mammary tumors occur because of abnormal replication of the cells that make up the breast tissue. Similar to human breast cancer tumors, mammary tumors can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). The exact causes of these tumors in dogs and cats isn’t fully understood. However, studies have shown that hormone levels play a major factor in mammary tumor development.  According to VCA Animal Hospitals Inc., dogs spayed prior to their first heat cycle have a less than 1% chance of developing mammary tumors. After a first or second heat cycle, this dramatically increases to a risk of 8% and 26% respectively. Age also seems to play a factor, similar to human breast cancer. The older a dog gets, the more times cells reproduce, thus increasing the odds of mammary tumors occurring. Different breeds of dogs also seem to be more susceptible to mammary tumors which implies there is a genetic component and/or disposition as well. Some of the most common dog breeds to be diagnosed with mammary tumors include Boxer Dogs, Brittany Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Doberman Pinschers, English Setters, Poodles, and Yorkshire Terriers. To learn more about pet cancers in general, check out our other article entitled Pet Cancer Awareness Month. 

Facts About Breast Cancer

While many people know of breast cancer, not many people know all of the facts about breast cancer. The more knowledgeable we are regarding a serious subject, such as breast cancer, the more we can then begin to understand and combat it as a whole. Here are a few interesting facts about breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in American women. It is so common in American women, that 1 in 8 women in America will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. If caught during the early stages, breast cancer can be treated through a variety of methods including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and biological therapy. While these methods are not always effective, there are many women in America that fought and survived breast cancer. There are roughly 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States as of 2020. 

How To Show Your Support

The best way you or anyone else can support the women, men, and female dogs that have been diagnosed with breast cancer (and mammary tumors respectively) is to get involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But how do you get involved with B.C.A. month? Simple! Wear a pink ribbon or pink clothes during the month of October to visually show your support to those fighting and surviving breast cancer. When others see you wearing pink, it reminds them about the importance of breast cancer awareness month and it gets the conversation started. Another way to get involved is to volunteer your time to local organizations that help spread awareness of breast cancer. One such organization is the American Cancer Society (A.C.S.) which is a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer. You can also donate money to a fundraiser that spreads awareness of breast cancer or goes towards medical research in curing and preventing breast cancer. There are also many sponsored runs, walks, and bicycle races that donate their proceeds to breast cancer awareness and research. No matter how you get involved, remember the importance of October being breast cancer awareness month and that every person can make a difference.  

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