October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, and approximately 1 woman in 8 will develop it over the course of her life. Breast cancer is so common that most women know someone who has been diagnosed with this disease. Just over 10 years ago, my dear friend, Marsha Vaughn, died of breast cancer after an ugly battle that lasted a couple of years. When she told me the news, I was so sure she would beat it. She was, too. It seemed like so many strides had been made in its treatment that we just knew she would pull through. We were wrong.
So, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this week’s Fab Friday Favorites theme is taking care of your bosom, your ta-tas, your boobs, the girls…
At what age a woman should start getting mammograms and how often she should get them depends on her family history, and health status. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you. I get one every year. I have a friend who won’t get them because she’s afraid they’ll hurt. Mammograms don’t hurt. They can be slightly uncomfortable… for about a minute…but they’re not nearly as “uncomfortable” as untreated breast cancer would be.
A Healthy Diet
Experts say that a diet rich in anti-oxidants offers the most benefits to breast cancer survivors. I can’t really explain what an anti-oxidant is, but I do know they’re found in fruits and vegetables. Basically, we should eat less red meat, processed meat, trans fats, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, refined sugars and other “white” foods, and more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, olive oil and lean protein such as fish, poultry and beans. More details can be found in this –> Chicago Tribune article. The shopping list, below, should help. It’s from Bright Pink, a national non-profit organization that focuses on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women, while providing support for high-risk individuals.
I hate doing breast exams. To me, it’s really strange to have to look for something you don’t really want to find. But I do them. FabFit&Fun.com has a nice “how-to” guide to doing breast exams the right way. Check it out.
Studies indicate that overweight and obese women have a higher risk of recurrence from breast cancer than women who are slimmer. That’s because carrying around extra weight can compromise the immune system, leading to chronic inflammation. This increases levels of estrogen that contribute to cancer formation, according to Joseph Sparano, associate chairman of the Department of Oncology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. I used to be a runner and I miss it terribly, but my knees aren’t cooperating. So I walk. Every day I walk 5-6 miles (well, most days) and I have a couple of really good yoga and workout apps on my iPad that I do at home several times a week. I don’t like exercising, but I do it. It would be silly not to.
I’m hoping that the time will come, in the not too distant future, when we won’t need Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In the meantime, here’s to all of us, that we stay healthy and fit and cancer-free.