October is a month of awareness for the most commonly-occurring cancer among women around the world.
The month is dedicated to battling breast cancer and the Rainy River Association of Professional Paramedics (RRAPP) is raising money and awareness to help combat the disease.
The organization currently is selling shoulder epaulets to paramedics that either are pink in colour or have a ribbon on them to both raise awareness and money for breast cancer research.
“We wear those epaulets throughout the month of October and we also trade out our blue nitrile gloves for pink nitrile gloves,” noted RRAPP member Malcolm Daley.
Other paramedics will change out their regular shoelaces for pink ones to shine a light on breast cancer.
“It’s all just about awareness, right?” mused Daley. “We’re out in the public quite a bit.
“We are a health-care profession so we want to put our pink out there and let everybody know that we’re thinking about them.
“We also are going to have a bit of a social media run encouraging women to do regular exams . . . just to make everyone aware of the issue,” he added.
“Early detection is definitely a big deal as with any illness,” Daley stressed. “But with cancer specifically, the earlier the detection, the more likely the outcome is going to be favourable.”
The information the RRAPP is looking to spread is focused on the early detection of breast cancer, including urging women to be aware of the symptoms, hereditary dispositions, and when to get a mammogram.
Individuals who have a family history of breast or cervical cancer are encouraged to get checked regularly and whenever an abnormality occurs.
“It is incredibly hereditary,” Daley warned. “If you have breast cancer or cervical cancer in your family, your risk chances are much higher.”
Having a mother, sibling, or child with breast cancer doubles a women’s risk while having two first-degree relatives increases it three-fold.
As well, about five-10 percent of breast cancer cases are believed to be hereditary, which means a portion of cases are the direct result of a gene defect passed on from a parent.
“You need to be vigilant that you’re doing self-exams and bringing concerns to your physician,” Daley said.
“Advocate for yourself and potentially bring someone else with you to advocate that you receive the assessments required . . . for that early detection of the issue.”
Daley is eager to educate the public and spread awareness all month long.
“It’s nice to keep the public informed and up to date, and keep things like this in the public sphere,” he enthused.
“You almost want to shove it down people’s faces,” he added. “You want everyone to see it and remember it, and put these things on the forefront of their mind.”
The RRAPP is encouraging the public to follow them on Facebook at their “Rainy River Association of Professional Paramedics” page and get educated about breast cancer prevention.