By Jennifer Brownell, Managing Director, Q4B


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time set aside once a year to attempt to get everyone’s attention on a national level regarding this deadly disease. It is not merely about heightening the awareness of the disease itself, although that is important. But unless you have been living under a rock for the last 25 or so years the assumption is that just about everyone knows that breast cancer exists and most everyone knows someone who has been affected by it.

No, the purpose of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to inform, to encourage, to educate, to help find a cure.

There are other causes, diseases, issues that have been allotted days, weeks or months to allow those interested to get some attention and to work towards accomplishing their individual goals, whatever they may be and no matter how worthy they are.

And there are some diseases, heart disease for example that are more deadly than breast cancer, especially among women. Consider that according to the National Heart and Lung Institute, 1 in 4 women will die of heart disease and according to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 40 women will die of breast cancer, there may not be another disease that is so universal, so identifiable, so personal as breast cancer.  

For those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and have gone through the treatment, from radiation to chemotherapy, the disease becomes part of who they are and it is always with them for the rest of their lives. There is no cure as of yet and even though many survivors can over time and after years of annual or semi-annual examinations be declared cancer free, the chance of cancer recurring is always present and real.

The message that needs to be heard not just during this month of October but every month, every day is this. Breast cancer shows no favoritism, shows no discrimination and can happen to anyone including a small percentage of men. It can happen to women in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and beyond. It can happen to any race or ethnic group although some are more predisposed to the disease, such as some Hispanic women and Eastern European Jewish women with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene. It can happen regardless of socioeconomic background, education level, geography, diet, lifestyle or genetics.

It can happen.

The message is that you can survive, as many women have. But surviving breast cancer depends on a number of factors. The most important of which is early detection. The earlier the better. Women of all ages from early twenties on up need to know how to self-examine and be willing to discuss with their health care provider any slight changes that they discover. This is especially true of women with a predisposition to the disease as mentioned above.

Other factors are having access to information regarding the disease, access to support groups made up of other survivors and the support of family and friends.   

But, you can survive!

There are so many fine organizations that are involved on a daily basis in fighting this deadly disease, the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Foundation to name just a few. All are working to bring about a cure for this deadly disease, hopefully in our lifetime.

There is hope!

My purpose in writing this blog is to lend my voice to the scores of people who are doing what they can to make everyone more aware of this disease and what to do if you are diagnosed. My own sense of awareness came a year ago in October of 2011, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I became aware that I had breast cancer, stage 1HER2 to be precise. I went through some pretty brutal rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, lost my hair and can now claim to be a survivor. I was fortunate to have some great doctors, access to as much information as I cared to read, support of other survivors and most especially the ongoing support of co-workers, friends and loving family.

I would hope that everyone who is diagnosed could have the same experience that I had. Short of finding the cure for this disease that should be the goal of everyone and every organization working with this issue so that someday everyone who is diagnosed can say, “We are all survivors!”

Spread the word about breast cancer and join the fight. Make everyone more AWARE!


Views: 160

Comment by Daniel F Ridge on October 3, 2012 at 7:02pm

One could suggest that may not be the proper forum for this most heartfelt post. Afterall it is certainly not about anything recruiting related. I however think that it is the perfect forum. Recruiters talk to more people in a day than perhaps any other profession. We discuss issues, mostly job related, that are serious and have a profound impact on people's lives. What if during this one month we all took the time to remind all of our candidates and hiring managers about how important Breast Cancer Awareness is. That would send a strong message. Let's do our part, what do you say? 

Comment by Tim Spagnola on October 4, 2012 at 7:55am

Jennifer - I appreciate the post on such an important topic.

Daniel - I agree with you 100%!

Comment by Jennifer Brownell on October 4, 2012 at 8:47am
Thanks Dan and Tim. Obviously an important topic to me! I just realized I need to change my profile picture. The one with very little hair! The way I really look now!
Comment by Amber on October 4, 2012 at 11:36am

Jennifer - so glad that you are a survivor! And I imagine it's also a lot of emotional surviving as well. My future daughter-in-law is just getting her hair back after a bout with lupus and some pretty hardcore drug therapy. It has been one of the most challenging things about the whole disease for her at this point. She is only just 22, and had waist length hair - she actually looks very cute right now, but it's hard for her to see that.

Thanks for sharing your story and the message. People deal with so many challenges, illnesses among them, and often in our daily business as recruiters we are involved in certain ways so I think it has relevance to the forum.


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