October is dedicated to saving the boobies. Breast Cancer Awareness month is an annual campaign intended to increase awareness of the disease. As the second leading cause of death among women, it is a topic worth discussing.
One in eight women in the U. S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer her lifetime
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide
Each year it is estimated that over 252,710 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,500 will die from the disease
Breast cancer is rare in men, yet an estimated 2,470 men will be diagnosed annually, and approximately 460 will die
Over 3.3 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the U.S. today
Breast cancer affects countries at all levels of modernization; no class, culture, religion or race is exempt
Many of us know a breast cancer survivor. My great-grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 40’s and lived to be 102, but not everyone survives to tell their story. Many families have endured the pain, suffering and ultimate loss of a loved one to the disease.
Cancer sucks period, but as a woman, it seems breast cancer carries with it an additional stigma. There is no denying it, women are not only identified by but also defined by their unique shape. The disfigurement breast cancer may bring surely adds to the trauma of dealing with a potentially deadly disease. I cannot begin to imagine the psychological pain of enduring a mastectomy.
While breast cancer is not completely avoidable, there are some environmental & lifestyle risk factors that may increase the odds of contracting the disease:
Lack of Physical Activity – A sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity
Poor Diet – A diet high in saturated fat and lacking fruits and vegetable
Being Overweight or Obese
Drinking Alcohol – Frequent consumption of alcohol
Radiation Therapy to the chest before age 30
Combined Hormone Replacement Therapy – Taking HRT for menopause not only increases the risk, it increases the odds for cancer to be detected at a more advanced stage
With a wealth of information literally at our fingertips, myths still abound on the subject. Breast cancer is not contagious, it is not caused by wearing underwire bras, implants, deodorants, antiperspirants, mammograms, caffeine, plastic food serving items, microwaves or cell phones.
Breast cancer is serious business, but we don’t have to be afraid, there is much that can be done. First and foremost: ladies, get an annual mammogram! Yes, I know, having the girls pancaked by a cold, heartless machine is no one’s idea of fun, but the two minutes of discomfort that could save your life, are definitely worth the fleeting awkwardness.
Know what else you can do? Put your money into lifesaving research. Supporting breast cancer research is not only easy; it’s fun and fashionable too!!! Trust me, I’m all about anything pink ribbon. There are jackets, sunglasses, running shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, jewelry, scarves, purse key finder hooks, pens, running shoes, gloves, running headbands, ear warmers, undies, pajamas, socks, and so much more emblazoned with the telltale pink ribbon. Not that I’d know any of this personally. Nope.
A co-worker once shared with me her breast cancer diagnosis. Immediately I removed the pink ribbon bracelet from my wrist and gave it to her to symbolize my faith that she would overcome, and she did. It was a tear-inducing moment for us both.
Many communities, including San Marcos host annual Pink Heals 5K races, with proceeds going to valuable research and support for individuals facing cancer. I’ve run that particular race numerous times; it’s one of my favorites!
There’s even more exciting news! Due to better screening early detection, and better treatment options, breast cancer deaths have steadily declined since the 1990’s.
So, please everyone do your part to Save the Boobies!!!
Until Next Time,
Becky J Miller