October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Are you Breast Aware?

breast cancer

It’s the PINK MONTH again. We see pink ribbons, pink shoes on football players and invitations to do Pink Charity events. And to bring it even closer to our attention, one of our favorite celebs, Julia Louise Dreyfus, recently announced, “One in eight women get breast cancer. Today, I am The One.”

It’s difficult to stop and really ‘bring it home.’ As with Julia, almost 360K new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year. There’s not one of us untouched, whether it’s already your own experience or the journey of someone you hold dear. But, although it’s the most common cancer in women, there are 3.5 million survivors living today. They are not just surviving, but thriving, more than in any other cancer group.

So, let’s take a quick look at why there’s such a success rate. We are empowered to face this disease head on. There’s more research based information now than ever on prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment options.

So, where do we begin?

As Joan Lunden, a breast cancer survivor and thriver celebrating 10 years of NED (NO EVIDENCE DETECTION) preaches, “Be breast aware.”

Awareness begins with understanding our risk factors and taking action.

Some factors, such as lifestyle, can be changed with choices. Others, such as genetics, cannot; but with today’s advances, can be reduced.

Here are a few established risk factors according to www.breastcancer.org.

  • LIFESTYLE: Lack of exercise or a nutrient rich diet, not maintaining a healthy weight or restricting alcohol, smoking, and stress, all which affect hormone balance.
  • FAMILY HISTORY: If you have a sister, mother, or daughter diagnosed, the risk is doubled. 75% of diagnosis have NO family history.
  • GENETICS: 5 to 10% of cases are thought to be hereditary, with the gene passed down from parent to child.
  • AGE: 2 out of 3 cases of invasive breast cancer are in women 55 and older.

Two new emerging risk factors:

  • LOW VITAMIN D LEVELS: Vitamin D may play a role in normal breast cell growth.
  • CHEMICAL EXPOSURE: Limiting chemical exposure to not only pesticides, but to chemicals in food, cosmetics, plastics and water may decrease risk.

Breast Awareness, in essence, includes proactive risk management, regular self-checks and yearly screenings, such as mammography. Conversations with your doctor about what’s available for your personal profile gives you the power to protect your health.

To be more breast aware, take a more in-depth look at risk factors, diagnosis, and treatments at  www.breastcancer.org

Think Pink, Live Green: A Step-by-Step Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer teaches you the biology of breast development and how modern life affects breast cancer risk. Order a free booklet by mail or download the PDF of the booklet to learn 31 risk-reducing steps you can take today.

For more resources and to get involved: www.Komen.org 

Low income or underinsured?  www.bridgebreast.org

In the U.K., find resources at Breast Cancer Care.