The Orchid Blog

Sigma Theta Psi Multicultural Sorority's official blog.

When you do a self-exam, what are you feeling for? What does a cancerous lump feel like?

A lemon is the perfect tool to show us the answer. Similar in appearance and anatomy, you’ll see that a cancerous lump feels hard and immovable like a lemon seed. But what does a normal lump feel like? Have a look.

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I know we’ve mentioned Pink Ribbons, Inc., but I want to remind everyone during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to think about the ways that disease (and bodies) are commodified and marketed. Think, too, about the links between cheaply-made goods (especially plastics) and a higher risk for cancer for those who work in or live near factories. Remember that white women are the face of this crusade, but black women are dying of it at much higher rates. (Which is to say nothing of women of color who aren’t in the U.S.)

There have been many survivor-oriented documentaries about breast cancer, including Beyond Breast Cancer: Stories of Survivors (2008), Rachel’s Daughters: Searching for the Cause of Breast Cancer (1997), The Breast Cancer Diaries (2008). Youtube hosts clips from these as well as many other videos and short documentaries by and about people experiencing breast cancer.

It’s a theme that’s popped up in some fictional media, too, like Pieces of April (2003), Terms of Endearment (1983), and (this season) on NBC’sParenthood. Interestingly, in spite of of the multibillion dollar breast cancer awareness industry, there really are few weighty fictional accounts, especially from the perspective of the afflicted. Consider, too, the hypersexualization of breast cancer awareness, and how this contrasts with the inability of filmmakers to regard breast cancer survivors as sexual subjects themselves.

Can you suggest any others?

Fact! Getting a mammogram won’t cause breast cancer. In fact, it’s currently the best way to detect breast cancer, being 90% accurate.

Fiction! In fact, most breasts are! Fibrocystic breast disease is common in women, which makes the breasts feel a bit like cottage cheese underneath. However, if you find a lump that is hard and immovable, ask your doctor to take a look.

Fiction! On average, women can’t detect a lump smaller than the size of their elbow. A mammogram however usually detects a lump the size of the tip of your finger.

Over the past few years millions of women have received an e-mail claiming that antiperspirants cause breast cancer. MYTH!

In newspaper articles and on websites doctors repeatedly stated that there was no truth to this claim. But the fact that no research had ever been conducted on antiperspirants and breast cancer kept some women thinking the connection just might indeed be true. But now the research has been conducted and the findings are in: Antiperspirants do not cause breast cancer.


Today, we’re proud to announce that our breast health program is expanding. Thanks to the outpouring of support from donors nationwide, we are significantly expanding our services across the country to help more women detect breast cancer early. Our expanded breast health program will give more women access to lifesaving screenings, diagnostic services, and educational resources. Learn more about how you may be able to benefit on our website.

Women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by not taking combination estrogen/progestin hormone therapy, not smoking, minimizing their exposure to radiation during CT scans and the like, avoiding weight gain after menopause, cutting back on alcohol, and staying active, a new report says.

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Researchers at a commercial DNA testing service say they have found a handful of genes that help determine whether a woman spends her life as an A cup or a D.

Those genes might also be tied, they say, to a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

"There are surprising connections between some of the genes involved in determining breast size and the genes involved in breast cancer," lead author Nick Eriksson, a researcher with the California-based personal genomics company 23andMe, told The Huffington Post.

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National Board- stay tuned for more details coming soon