A special post by Lauren Grace Carlson
Lymphedema is a risk breast cancer patients and survivors know all too well. Although most commonly associated with lymph node damage and removal during mastectomies, lymphedema can also result from tumor growth that impedes the flow of lymphatic fluid as well as from radiation treatment, which can cause scarring and inflammation of the lymph nodes and vessels. For these reasons, it is important that all breast cancer patients and survivors wear medical ID jewelry. So that begs the question...
What is Lymphedema?
Every October, the pink ribbons abound as people come together to promote breast cancer awareness, support, and research efforts. Thankfully, those efforts continue all year round, and here at Lauren’s Hope, that’s never been truer than it became this past spring.
In April, CEO and Owner, LeAnn Carlson called a staff meeting. Gathered together, LeAnn shared the news with all of us. Not one to mince words, she simply said, “I have been diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Pam Scott’s sister missed her mammogram appointment and put off rescheduling it. Most women have done this with their mammograms or annual well-checks. We tell ourselves we’re too busy, the kids need us that day, it’s really not that important, we’ll go next month, or (more honestly), there pretty much isn’t anything we want to do less that. So we skip it.
People often associate breast cancer with a secondary diagnosis: lymphedema. Not everyone who has lived with breast cancer will develop lymphedema, and nowhere near everyone with lymphedema has (or has had) breast cancer. In fact, although breast cancer treatment (radiation) is the leading cause of lymphedema in the United States, worldwide it is much more common for people to develop lymphedema due to a parasitic infection. So let's cover the basics first.
It's October, and that means Halloween, haunted houses, fall leaf piles, pumpkin spice lattes and PINK. Lots of pink. Pink everywhere. Why? Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and most unfortunately, it seems just about everyone knows someone (or is the someone) who has or has had breast cancer. It's no surprise, given that one in eight women will have breast cancer in her lifetime. One in every eight.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast cancer awareness month is now celebrating it's 25th year and the support is continuing to grow. The most recognizable symbol of support is the pink ribbon. The pink ribbon was first given out in 1991 during a Susan G. Komen race in New York City. It was a year later when the NBCAMF (National Breast Awareness Month Foundation) adopted the ribbon as it's official symbol. Now, you can not only wear a pink ribbon to show your support, but you can also purchase items from kitchen appliances to clothing as well as office supplies and medical jewelry that use the color pink in the design to show support.