Breast Cancer Awareness

You probably know that October is the official month of Breast Cancer Awareness.  A month dedicated to spreading the word and raising money for Breast Cancer.   

Cancer.  The only word that can shake me to the core.  It's the one word that can bring a beautiful day to a halt.  This word has taken 1/4 of my family, my dad...who was my everything... and now it is attacking our friends.   Mieke and I know this word well.  This word has the power to make a family strong and then tear it apart.  Cancer is an odd disease.  We know so much yet so little about it.  It comes in many forms and variations and so does it's treatments.  But the one thing we know about this crazy disease is early detection can save a life.  

A Mastectomy scar turned from a horrible event into a memory of strength and beauty

A Mastectomy scar turned from a horrible event into a memory of strength and beauty

Fast Facts About Breast Cancer

  • Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease.
  • Men also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. Less than 1% of breast cancers occur in men.
  • Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 10% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of ag

Taking the time to honor our bodies and health is usually put on the back burner.  As moms and women we have the tendency to put our family and work before we put ourselves.  

So in honor of BCAM we need to all make self exams a monthly priority.  This video below will help you with your own exam.

 

Here are a couple of ways to help fight off cancer before it starts.  Stay Healthy... (From CDC)

  • Keep a healthy weight.

  • Exercise regularly (at least four hours a week).

  • Research shows that lack of nighttime sleep can be a risk factor.

  • Don’t drink alcohol, or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.

  • Avoid exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer (carcinogens) and chemicals that interfere with the normal function of the body.

  • Limit exposure to radiation from medical imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans if not medically necessary.

  • If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), ask your doctor about the risks and find out if it is right for you.

  • Breastfeed any children you may have, if possible.

If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may be at high risk for getting breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about more ways to lower your risk.

Staying healthy throughout your life will lower your risk of developing cancer, and improve your chances of surviving cancer if it occurs.

 

Understanding Breast Cancer is not easy but because of brave women around the world we can begin to breakdown what it is and help us detect it early enough to save our lives.  We keep hearing about the BRCA gene and BRCA exams, here is quick info about it to help explain it better.  

Sometimes, changes or “mutations” occur that prevent genes from doing their job properly. Certain mutations in the BRCA genes make cells more likely to divide and change rapidly, which can lead to cancer.

All women have BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, but only some women have mutations in those genes. About 1 in every 500 women in the United States has a mutation in either her BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. If either your mother or your father has a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, you have a 50% chance of having the same gene mutation.

Some groups are at a higher risk for a BRCA gene mutation than others, including women with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.

Why BRCA Gene Mutations Matter

Not every woman who has a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation will get breast or ovarian cancer, but having a gene mutation puts you at an increased risk for these cancers.

  • About 50 out of 100 women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation will get breast cancer by the time they turn 70 years old, compared to only 7 out of 100 women in the general United States population.
  • About 30 out of 100 women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation will get ovarian cancer by the time they turn 70 years old, compared to fewer than 1 out of 100 women in the general U.S. population.

If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, you may have a higher breast cancer risk. Talk to your doctor about these ways of reducing your risk—

  • Antiestrogens or other medicines that block or decrease estrogen in your body.
  • Surgery to reduce your risk of breast cancer
    • Prophylactic (preventive) mastectomy (removal of breast tissue).
    • Prophylactic (preventive) salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes).

It is important that you know your family history and talk to your doctor about screening and other ways you can lower your risk. 

Honor yourself and your body and do monthly breast checks.  If we all promise to do this we can make a change.   

To make a donation for Breast Cancer research, fundraise or learn more about the disease, head to Breast Cancer Research Foundation.   The #1 rated BCR charity in the world where over 90% of all funds raised goes directly to research for a cure. 

xoxo TWH