Not everything relates to football
It’s autumn … my favorite time of the year. Baseball will be wrapping up & football is in full swing.
If you watch NFL football (and these days you might not anymore), here’s something you’d have to be color blind not to realize: we’re in the midst of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Thanks to the efforts of many organizations now, including the NFL, it might even be fair to say that “awareness” isn’t so much the issue anymore. Most people are generally aware of the very real threat of breast cancer. However, it’s probably also fair to say that most people still aren’t aware of or doing enough when it comes to actual prevention and preparation.
JD Roberto and the awesomely terrific team at Daily Burn and 365 have been sharing some wonderful and heart-touching stories of loved ones and of their own survivorship. For some, it’s about being brave, going into the dark abyss to face what is derived from life and coming out the other side (albeit scarred) with narratives & testimonies of determination, resolve, strength, staunchness, perseverance, persistence, tenacity and … like my mom — sheer will power when she got up and tried to walk after her surgery. It’s about taking back control of your life, taking names & kicking butt, and hopefully … learning the life lessons (your life lessons) throughout the whole ordeal.
These Wonder Women, who nearly every day look to their tribe to encourage that which is their daily workout — who are living a life which is both terrifying and inspiring — who themselves wouldn’t normally post or get involved in such an extrovert manner, are speaking up and speaking out concerning their journey so that others may follow with continued health and strength.
And here’s the thing: Even IF you don’t have a genetic predisposition toward cancer in general; even IF it doesn’t “run” in the family. Taking steps to decrease your risk (and the risk for your loved ones) of getting breast cancer isn’t difficult — not to mention the results are legitimate and substantial. Here are a few things you can do today to decrease your own risk for breast cancer:
8 steps to help avoid breast cancer
- Refrain from alcohol — if you drink, no worries, do it responsibly and in moderation. The more you drink, the more you increase your risk for breast cancer. So no more than one alcoholic drink per day is suggested.
- Don’t smoke. This is simply a good rule of thumb for your overall health as well, of course. And I’m not talking only pipes, cigars, and tobacco cigarettes — but those ugly “vape” stores and outlets that have popped up in every little town and strip mall like a cancer (pun intended) as well.
- Be physically active and maintain a healthy body weight. Especially as you age (and for women … especially after menopause), being obese increases your risk for breast cancer. Exercise at least 4 hours per week.
- Believe it or not, there appears to be a link between breast feeding and breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast feed, the greater the preventive effect.
- Limit exposure to radiation from medical imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans if not medically necessary.
- Hormone replacement therapy may increase the risk for breast cancer. There’s, of course, some debate in this arena. Years ago, original findings prompted BIG changes in how we approach this but a recent study in 2017 has shown no correlation between replacement therapy and breast cancer increased risk. So we like to err on the side of caution. If you do feel you must to take hormones to manage menopausal symptoms, try to avoid progesterone and limit its overall use to fewer than three years.
- Research shows that lack of nighttime sleep can be a risk factor.
- KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid). Keep your mind right. Let your conversations be holy. Do unto others. Vengeance is not yours (although you may be allowed to participate). Kill them with Kindness. Walk a mile in their shoes. ‘Nuff said.
Perhaps the most important element to breast cancer awareness is the fact that early detection matters a great deal. Screenings don’t prevent breast cancer, but knowing really is a major part of the battle. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the easier and more effective treatment is. If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about other options to make sure you’re doing everything you should be to properly handle your own risk.
For example, it’s possible that MRI or ultrasound screenings might add valuable information to your regular mammogram screening (again if medically necessary) — it all depends on you, your family history, and of course your lifestyle. If it’s necessary, by the way, you can know that women who have had both breasts surgically removed reduce their risk of breast cancer by over 90 percent.
Oh, mercy, yes, we got to beat that competition. ~ O Brother
So during October, as trick-or-treating nears, as the World Series begins (go whoever!!), and as you watch (or not) the NFL go pink — take stock of what you’re doing when it comes to breast cancer awareness. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to come up with an early detection plan or to tweak your lifestyle just a bit in order to decrease your own risk substantially. And remember this: when breast cancer is detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent. Something to ponder.
Do you know a Breast Cancer Survivor ?