I pray you are fortunate to never find yourself in the waiting room of a hospital, anxiously awaiting a doctor with the results of your biopsy or the blood tests of a loved one. I pray you never hear word “cancer” come out of your physician’s mouth, suddenly changing your understanding of the word and shaking your whole existence. I pray we work together to find a cure and create a brighter, healthier future.
This year marks the 25th year of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is a topic near and dear to many of us. It is the most common form of cancer in women and the second leading cause of female deaths due to cancer (after lung cancer) http://nbcam.org. According to Breastcancer.org, an estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in 2010 in the U.S. Many are surprised to learn that breast cancer can also affect men, although the chances are reduced with one out of 100 cases being male. http://nbcam.org .
So every October we party with pink ribbons, buy pink hued products, and support charity runs with pink logos. Has it made a difference? YOU BET. Thanks to the billions of dollars raised for research, we are starting to win the war against breast cancer. “The progress we have made over the last 20 years has changed the face of the disease for American women,” says Freya Schnabel, MD, director of breast surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. “We can find it earlier, treat it more effectively, reduce recurrence, and enhance survival.” Since everything from running shoes to tissues will be going pink this October, I wanted to share the top things you need to know about Breast Cancer Awareness Month and how YOU can help make a difference. Knowledge = power, and the more you know the more power you have to help find a cure 🙂
Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Facts and How You Can Help
1. Breast cancer can affect anyone. Whether you’re poor, rich, white, black, old or young, breast cancer can affect you. Celebrities Cynthia Nixon, Christina Applegate, and Sheryl Crow have all been diagnosed and now help promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Maybe you’ve had a friend, co-worker, or family member who has been affected or you have struggled with disease. The work to cure breast cancer is a universal cause, anything you do to help will make a difference in a life you love 🙂
2. Awareness is growing. If it seems like pink is everywhere, you’d be right. The movement has grown immensely over the last quarter of a century and everyday more people are working together to find a cure.
3. It’s easy to get involved. Whether it’s running a race for charity or buying a product that supports breast cancer research, you can help no matter what your budget is or how much time you have to give.
4. You can PREVENT cancer by living a healthy lifestyle (and helping others do the same). Prevention is the first step in fighting breast cancer. Here are a few ways to cut your risk:
- Work out pretty hard… daily. Moderate to vigorous exercise is linked with a 25 percent decrease in risk. Get moving for 45-60 minutes five days a week.
- Stay on the slim side. Obesity is the biggest avoidable cause of breast cancer. Even losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight lowers your odds if you’re heavy, says Debbie Saslow, PhD, director of the Breast and Gynecologic Center at the American Cancer Society.
- Eat more plants. No single food has emerged as the one to beat breast cancer – though those filled with fiber seem to lower your risk, new Chinese research shows. But overall healthy eating can give you an edge. You could reduce your odds of all kinds of cancer by 60 to 80 percent through diet alone says Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Super Immunity. Fill your plate mostly with veggies, fruits, whole grains, and beans.
- Limit alcohol intake to 3 drinks per week (a drink = 1 ounce of hard liquor, 6 ounces of wine or an 8 ounce beer)
- If you smoke, quit. I guess thats kinda a no brainer right?
- Check yourself. The most important thing you can do to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to do a monthly breast exam and get a mammogram as soon as your doctor recommends it.
5. Important and informative Breast Cancer Awareness Websites:
- National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: http://nbcam.org
- Susan B Komen for the Cure: http://www.komen.org
- National Breast Cancer Foundation: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/
- Breast Cancer.org: http://www.breastcancer.org
- Join the TeamHope national marathon team to get a spot on one of its partner races, such as the ING Miami Marathon or ING New York City Marathon. Get in shape AND give back…. make your training really mean something.
- Donate a dollar – support the cause directly on the Breast Cancer website.
- CancerForward.org is an online network of 1,700 survivors, loved ones, and health care providers. Long on to offer your words of wisdom, or join the all-volunteer editorial staff.
- ArmyOfWomen.org matches healthy women with researchers seeking volunteers for breast cancer studies. Your donation is your own healthy self!
- Help coordinate a free fitness event through one of your local active communities (lululemon SF has done many yoga charity events). Contact a store to see if they would want to set up a yoga for charity event with you. If you are an instructor of yoga/fitness, head to TeamSurvivor.org and offer your fitness services for a charity event!
- The SAMFund helps young adults deal with debt post cancer, awarding grants for expenses like rent, medical bills, and education. Money-savvy volunteers can guest blog at TheSAMFund.blogspot.com or research topics for webinars.
- Join Team FD at FirstDescents.org; you can set a fund-raising goal and raise moola as you kayak, hike, climb, raft, run, surf, or enjoy your favorite spots.
- Cancer Rockstar, founded last year, sends cancer patients to jam out at concerts and meet their musical idols face-to-face. You can fan the charity on facebook to raise awareness, or donate money at CancerRockstar.org
This week I CHALLENGE YOU to find a way to get involved with the cause. Do something this week that gives back. How will you be celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Leave a comment below with ONE thing you’ll be doing THIS WEEK to help the fight to end Breast Cancer. Whether its enrolling in a breast cancer charity race or scheduling a check-up with your doctor (and reminding your friends to do it too), you can make small steps towards finding a cure. This week, how will YOU make a difference?
Feel free to share your story or any ideas on how we can help.
Let’s dream of a day where people diagnosed with breast cancer can have confidence that they will be not only be cured, but will go on to live rich, full and long lives.
Thanks again for being a wonderful fitness family. Lets make a difference!
Other things to check out this week:
- MY ANTI-GRAVITY RUNNING VIDEO!
- Eat To Beat Breast Cancer.
- Child models, plastic surgery, dangerous cosmetics….lots of sad and shocking info on this awesome documentary. A must watch. Click here to View “AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL” on hulu. We are all victims of this image focused world we live in. I challenge you to change the way you see… not the way you look. http://thecarolineinthecity.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/change-the-way-you-see-not-the-way-you-look-stop-the-trash-talk-challenge/
- Photos from my BOSU Workshops at UCDavis. Love the ones with my momma 🙂