Wearing pink this month

By Ms. Walla
In Health Challenges
Oct 26th, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness 2014Wearing pink this month

There’s a buzz in the air this month coming from your radio, television and computer being transmitted by ordinary folks, as well as celebrities and male sports teams wearing pink, reminding us that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Today as my husband and I were watching a football game, they cut-away to the station’s sports analysts, all five of the men, mostly retired football players, were sporting pink shirts, ties, pocket squares, shoes or the pink ribbon representing breast cancer awareness. I remember in past years, baseball teams in the MLB playoffs even used pink bats in support of this great cause.

One in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their life and women as young as their 20’s are now hearing the dreaded words, “You have breast cancer”. Over the years there have been different philosophies on what age a women should start getting mammograms to detect breast cancer. When I was growing up, they weren’t even recommended for women 35 or younger but currently about 7% of all breast cancer detections are under 40 years of age. Knowing your risk factors and sharing these concerns with your doctor could lead to a proactive approach to healthy breasts.

Risk Factors

According to the Susan G. Komen site, there are numerous factors that put women at risk of acquiring breast cancer in her lifetime. The younger a girl begins her menstrual cycle, pregnant for first time at 35 years of age or older, never been pregnant, getting older, being overweight, lack of exercise, family history of breast cancer and estrogen and progestin hormones taken during menopause, all increase the risk factors of breast cancer.

The time period between mammograms has also changed over the years, depending upon your age range. I know as a 50+ year old woman I receive a yearly reminder to schedule my mammogram. Because my breasts are very dense and more difficult to detect a lump/bump through self-exams, doctors have been proactive and I have had over 10 mammogram procedures starting at age 35. According to the article by Heather Millar for prevention.com the recommendation is to get a mammogram every 2 years after age 50. Mammograms are not 100% full proof but they are the best and most accurate indicator available to detect this cancer. Personally, I don’t look forward to the smashing of my breasts with a vise like tool that makes my breasts resemble pancakes. The procedure can be uncomfortable, unpleasant and is “no picnic”, even for a veteran such as myself. So, for the time being until another machine or procedure is invented to diagnose this cancer, we will continue to get smooshed and smashed and we’ll just have to “suck it up”.

Paula Abdul has written a song and choreographed a video, sponsored by Avon, telling the importance of knowing your breasts and actually showing you how to self-examine your breasts. I have seen the video and was entertained, while being informed, as she, with the help of another dancer, showed the technique while fully dressed and without touching the body. The lyrics are catchy and cute, while addressing the importance of self-examination of your breasts. Abdul’s older sister was recently diagnosed with the disease and Paula felt the importance of using her celebrity to inform women the importance of self exams. To view her video, visit sheknows.com. She wants you to touch your boobs….

I’m glad that in 2014 we can openly talk about breast cancer without it being a taboo subject

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. No longer do we have to ignore or minimize the fact that women have breast cancer. Instead we have celebrities such as Angelina Jolie who chose to publicize her decision to have her breasts removed as she carried the gene that made her highly likely to acquire the ugly disease. This weeks’ People magazine is graced with the beautiful and bald Joan Lunden, who is fighting her own personal battle. Robin Roberts, Christina Applegate, Linda McCartney, Sheryl Crow, Jaclyn Smith, Elizabeth Edwards, as well as several more celebrities have all heard the dreaded words, “You have breast cancer”. Unfortunately, for some of these brave women, the disease was too overpowering and they have succumbed, but today’s technology, medical advances and early detection certainly improves the chance of survival. For these women I have listed, everyone of them were very public about their fight/journey and allowed us to be “voyers” into their lives during this difficult time. I’m hopeful that their stories of perseverance and commitment will encourage women, such as yourself, to take the next step of protection from this hideous disease. Schedule your mammogram now and give you, and your family, an early Christmas present of good health!

Until next time,

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