Educate Yourself and Loved Ones for Breast Cancer Awareness
You've heard it before: breast cancer is devastating, and it takes too many lives far too soon. While the causes of breast cancer are unknown, the good news is that with early detection, you are 99 percent likely to survive five years later.
Did you catch that? Modern breast cancer treatment is so effective, it almost always works. While the medical community deserves a round of applause for that, there's still a lot of work to be done. The reason we all get bombarded with pink every October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month is because more women need to know about how to catch the disease early. Far too often, women are diagnosed with breast cancer after it has spread to other parts of the body. By then, it's sometimes too late to effectively treat the condition. It's tragic that something so curable takes far too many lives simply because women didn't know they should have been tested.
So for the sake of your mother, your sister, your daughter, your friend and yourself: educate yourself! And pass along the information. Here are some great ways you can participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
- Make an appointment for a mammogram if you're over 40, and remind the other women in your life to do so as well. Or go together!
- Schedule a clinical breast exam if you're under 40. You should have this done every three years (many women do it annually, at the same time as their PAP smear test).
- Do a monthly breast self-exam.
- Get moving and start that exercise program (yes, before the holidays). Regular exercise significantly reduces your cancer risk. Better yet, if you've got kids at home, get the whole family to exercise together.
- Start tracking what you eat and get in at least five servings of fruits and veggies a day. Cut back on processed foods and sweets.
- Ask your immediate family members about the family's breast cancer history. If you have kids, talk to them about their risk. Have a conversation with your doctor if you have any concerns about your genetic risk.
- If you're a smoker, there's never a better time to quit.
- Start going easy on the alcohol.
- Wear a pink ribbon, or distribute ribbons to your friends, family and coworkers. Explain to everyone what they're for – while everyone is aware of the dangers of breast cancer, not everyone knows how or when to be tested.
It's easy to protect yourself and the people you care about from this devastating disease. So what are you waiting for? Get tested and spread the word today.