Breast Cancer Awareness
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and most of you will be seeing PINK every where you go, from the local grocery store selling Breast Cancer Awareness cloth grocery bags, to Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirts and hats to little trinkets just to bring awareness to the forefront. You will also find walks or runs to help bring awareness and raise money. I happen to be a HUGE supporter of Susan G. Komen and bringing breast cancer awareness to everyone I come in contact with and I’ll be walking 60 miles in just 6 weeks to put action to my words!! I’m on an amazing team that has been together since 2008 and has raised a ton of money in the process! I love my team, Angels for the Cure, because we truly desire to find a cure to breast cancer!
Some of the members of my team as we were accepting a fundraising check from Kroger early this summer!
So you might think “it” could NEVER happen to you. But, I have some hard facts to share with you today. I’m not trying to scare you. I’m trying to make you aware that YOU are at risk just like your neighbor or the women in these pictures —ALL BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS!!
A random lady who comes out to the 3-Day and cheers for us walkers!!
A wonderful team member, Denise
Tracey, a high school friend’s wife
This is my best friend, Glenna. She is one of the biggest reasons I ever gave breast cancer a second thought. She is a survivor in every sense of the word!!
WHAT IS BREAST CANCER?
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. The damaged cells can invade surrounding tissue, but with early detection and treatment, most people continue a normal life.
Schedule and get a mammogram!! It’s 5 minutes of discomfort and unpleasantness that could save your life!!
FACTS ABOUT BREAST CANCER IN THE UNITED STATES
- One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women.
- Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
- Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 410 will die each year.
This means that chances are you know someone or are related to someone that has or will get breast cancer. Scary statistics if you ask me!!
A GLOBAL BURDEN
According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernization.
This means it could happen to you even though you don’t live in the USA!! Yes, even if you live in the most remote areas of the world chances are you will know someone who has had breast cancer at some time!
GOOD NEWS ABOUT BREAST CANCER TRENDS
In recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part to better due to screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.
Women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of getting a disease. Some risk factors (such as drinking alcohol) can be avoided. But most risk factors (such as having a family history of breast cancer) can’t be avoided. Having a risk factor does not mean that a woman will get breast cancer. Many women who have risk factors never develop breast cancer.
Yes, there has been A LOT of progress made in helping women who get breast cancer. And the research that has been done over the past 2 decades has helped millions of women go from a possible death to a survivor!!
- Gender: Breast cancer occurs nearly 100 times more often in women than in men.
- Age: Two out of three women with invasive cancer are diagnosed after age 55.
- Race: Breast cancer is diagnosed more often in caucasian women than women of other races.
- Family History and Genetic Factors: If your mother, sister, father or child has been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, you have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the future. Your risk increases if your relative was diagnosed before the age of 50.
- Personal Health History: If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the other breast in the future. Also, your risk increases if abnormal breast cells have been detected before (such as atypical hyperplasia, lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)).
- Menstrual and Reproductive History: Early menstruation (before age 12), late menopause (after 55), having your first child at an older age, or never having given birth can also increase your risk for breast cancer.
- Certain Genome Changes: Mutations in certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, can increase your risk for breast cancer. This is determined through a genetic test, which you may consider taking if you have a family history of breast cancer. Individuals with these gene mutations can pass the gene mutation onto their children.
- Dense Breast Tissue: Having dense breast tissue can increase your risk for breast cancer and make lumps harder to detect. Several states have passed laws requiring physicians to disclose to women if their mammogram indicates that they have dense breasts so that they are aware of this risk. Be sure to ask your physician if you have dense breasts and what the implications of having dense breasts are.
Sadly, I have several of these risk factors….one grandmother had breast cancer and the other had ovarian cancer and I have dense breast tissue. Not to mention the fact that I have been obese
(only overweight now!! yay!!) for years.
If you have any of these genetic factors PLEASE do everything in your power to be healthy and do monthly self-exams. Also do NOT hesitate to get yearly mammograms once you turn 35!! These simple tests can/will save your life!!
ENVIRONMENTAL AND LIFESTYLE RISK FACTORS
- Lack of Physical Activity: A sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity can increase your risk for breast cancer.
- Poor Diet: A diet high in saturated fat and lacking fruits and vegetables can increase your risk for breast cancer.
- Being Overweight or Obese: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for breast cancer. Your risk is increased if you have already gone through menopause.
- Drinking Alcohol: Frequent consumption of alcohol can increase your risk for breast cancer. The more alcohol you consume, the greater the risk.
- Radiation to the Chest: Having radiation therapy to the chest before the age of 30 can increase your risk for breast cancer.
- Combined Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Taking combined hormone replacement therapy, as prescribed for menopause, can increase your risk for breast cancer and increases the risk that the cancer will be detected at a more advanced stage.
I don’t know about you but I can’t think of better reasons to lose weight and move my body more than the risk factors listed above! Just another reason to continue making my jeans shrink!! Please, please, please take care of yourself!! These statistics are not made up!
WHAT ARE THE STATS?
60-70% of people with breast cancer have no connection to these risk factors at all, and other people with risk factors will never develop cancer.
Bottom line….just because you are young, healthy and at a proper weight with no history of breast cancer (or other cancers) DOES NOT guarantee you won’t get it!!
BUT…there are some things that you can relax about –
- Breast cancer is not contagious; you can’t contract cancer from a person who has the disease.
- Breast cancer is not caused by wearing underwire bras, implants, deodorants, antiperspirants, mammograms, caffeine, plastic food serving items, microwaves, or cell phones, as myths often suggest.
As you can tell I am a serious about taking care of my “girls” and making sure that y’all take care of yours, too!!
And finally here are some pictures to help you tell if you “may” have something to be concerned about.
Warning Signs of Breast Cancer
Due to the increased use of mammography, most women in the United States are diagnosed at an early stage of breast cancer, before symptoms appear. However, not all breast cancers are found through mammography. The most common symptoms of breast cancer are a change in the look or feel of the breast, a change in the look or feel of the nipple and nipple discharge. Warning signs you should be aware of are listed below:
So….What can you do? You can go get a mammogram! Honestly, it hurts less than childbirth, or s*x, and takes just a few minutes of your time. And you can find places that offer them for free if you don’t have insurance! Just google “free mammograms” and you will find plenty of places to contact. You can exercise and eat better. You can stop smoking. You can help raise awareness of breast cancer by walking or running in one of the many races around the country, like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, or the American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Awareness is prevalent in October but it should be something we pay attention to every month of the year!!