Travel Healthcare Professionals Recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Travel Healthcare Professionals Recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness and Travel Nurses

If you’re a die-hard Halloweenie, or already moving on to apple cinnamon scented candles and pumpkin pie lattes while you enjoy the fall foliage vistas at your location and prepare yourself for a Thanksgiving homecoming or a Thanksgiving on the road, who also is wearing pink scrubs this month (or pink anything) then you already know where we’re going here. While these things are (for many) integral parts of the autumn season, we’re taking a moment to remind those who may not remember, that the month of October is also, worldwide, the month for Breast Cancer awareness.

For travel nurses who specialize in oncology, odds are good that you’ve worked either directly or indirectly with breast cancer patients. Whether directly involved or not, breast cancer affects about one in every eight women which means most nurses have witnessed the grief, strength both physical and mental, and survival or death of patients, ourselves, or a loved one(s).

Breast Cancer Statistics

Let’s brush up a bit on our breast cancer statistics, cited directly from BreastCancer.org:

  • In 2021, an estimated 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 49,290 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
  • About 2,650 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2021. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 833.
  • About 43,600 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2021 from breast cancer. Death rates have been steady in women under 50 since 2007, but have continued to drop in women over 50. The overall death rate from breast cancer decreased by 1% per year from 2013 to 2018. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances and earlier detection through screening.
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
  • As of January 2021, there are more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2021, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
  • Breast cancer became the most common cancer globally as of 2021, accounting for 12% of all new annual cancer cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

How Does a Travel Nurse Observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

You don’t have to be rooted in a specific geographic location in order to contribute or participate in Breast Cancer Awareness! There are lots of ways you can be part of the movement this month, regardless of your setting. Additionally, it’s interesting to see how we’ve become so adapted to socialization limitations, there are also several breast cancer awareness events taking place virtually. Here are some ideas for you:

  • Race for the Cure Susan G. Komen – this popular event is in multiple cities nationwide, check the website to find a race near you.
  • American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer – this movement includes events both large scale and small check the website to find an event, or a team to join near you.
  • Breast Cancer Now – this research and care charity has events scheduled through to the upcoming year. You don’t have to limit your breast cancer support to October, check your calendar and your map, and find an event that interests you.
  • #LightUpMBC – October 13th is the national awareness day for Metastatic Breast Cancer, more than 200 landmarks worldwide will light up pink, teal, and/or green for the day. For a list of participating landmarks, check out the website. The list of landmarks is impressive and includes some outside of the U.S. Is there one in your city? If not, you can watch it by tuning into LiveXLive, METAvivor.org, and METAvivor Facebook Live, (8:30 pm ET).
  • PinkWeek – this virtual webinar series will cover a variety of breast cancer-related topics. Sign up to participate.
  • Yoga for Breast Cancer – this 60-minute yoga session will be conducted by a breast cancer survivor and experienced oncology social worker who is now a certified yoga instructor. The event is free.
  • Peak Hike for Prevention – Hike the trail of your choice for prevention while you participate virtually. Maybe round up a few friends/coworkers and make it your own event.
  • Metastatic Breast Cancer Virtual Forum Series – this series of expert panels will cover a lot of topics; however, you can participate (for free) via Zoom, on October 23. 

Prevention and Detection

As a nurse, women in your community will look to you as a reliable source of information and guidance. You don’t have to be loud-spoken or participate in important meetings to be part of prevention or education on the topic.

  • Can you see opportunities to promote prevention and detection?
  • Do you remind your patients about the importance of breast self-examination?
  • Are you conducting routine breast self-examinations?
  • Did you know that there is a program for breast and cervical cancer screenings for low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women in the U.S.?

Education

Do you have an interest in becoming an oncology nurse? Here’s a list of available certifications for the oncology specialty if you’re interested in specializing.

  • Oncology Certified Nurse (ONC®)
  • Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON®)
  • Certified Breast Care Nurse (CBCN®)
  • Blood and Marrow Transplant Certified Nurse (BMTCN®)
  • Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (AOCNP®)
  • Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (AOCNS®)

There is a certification that nurses can work towards specifically for treating breast cancer nevertheless, you don’t have to certify to commit to more learning and knowledge. There are a lot of educational programs available (continuing education credits), some even for free. Here are some sources:

  • National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) offers several breast cancer courses in their education catalog for free.
  • The Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation published this Mega List of Free CE in August, it includes course dates in 2022 and 2023.
  • Free courses for nurses on myCME cover a wide range of topics, including breast cancer.