Are you affected by breast cancer? Has it happened to you, a family member, a friend, or perhaps you’re a professional working in the field for breast cancer research or a doctor?
This terrible disease affects us all. Every year I wonder if I will be the ONE.
I don’t know how closely breast cancer has affected your life, but I have 2 family members who are breast cancer survivors and within this last year, I’ve lost a high school friend and a close family friend to breast cancer . The statistics are now 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed this year with breast cancer, but as we hit the 50ish decade, it is less than that. The odds work against us as we get older.
And every year, I wonder if it will be me.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors that work against me.
- The number one risk is that I’m a woman.
- I have a history of benign tumors and cysts.
- I am 60 and every year that goes by, my chances of getting breast cancer increases because my body will have a harder time fighting off cell mutations.
- I have dense breasts. Which in some reports says that I’m 6 times more likely to develop cancer . Dense breasts also make it harder for mammograms to detect breast cancer; breast cancers (which look white like breast gland tissue) are easier to see on a mammogram when they’re surrounded by fatty tissue (which looks dark). I prefer to use 3D imaging now because every time I had a mammogram, they see something. 3D is expensive, but I feel it’s better imaging for my dense breasts.
- I started menopause at 56.The longer a woman menstruates, the higher her lifetime exposure to the hormones estrogen and progesterone. All of these factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer later in life.
- Using HRT (Hormone Replacement) It’s a damned it you do, damned if you don’t when it comes to HRT. So far I’m damned.
- I color my hair and raise the risk from chemicals used on my hair.
- I drink more than 3 glasses of red wine per week. I love a glass of wine at 5:00. It’s my whistle for the day is over. Maybe it blows twice, but it puts me at risk as does HRT. HRT and alcohol raise my risk factor. Damned again.
As a 50ish woman I try to lower my chances of getting breast cancer, but as I am getting older, my chances rise right alongside my age.
Preventive measures: Things I have done or am doing now to lower my risk (Not a guarantee, just stating the facts from research)
- I had a baby before 30.Women who haven’t had a full-term pregnancy or have their first child after age 30 have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who gave birth before age 30.
- I breastfed all 4 of my children, but it seems I should have done it for over a year, which wasn’t my case. It seems the less we had periods, the lower the risk.
- I get an annual 3D mammogram and do self exams on a monthly basis.
- The Vitamin D factor: I love dairy, salmon, eggs, and I love the sunshine. Vitamin D may play a role in controlling normal breast cell growth and may be able to stop breast cancer cells from growing.
- I eat a lot of fresh food prepared at home and have cut down on sweets, which I absolutely love, but I know sugar and white flour are not good for me.
In France, it was a really hard job to avoid the delicious pastries and breads! Perhaps that is why French women have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than American women, but oh they are the best bakers!
- I try to live a paraben free, which I didn’t know can penetrate the skin and act like a very weak estrogen in the body . I just knew it was a healthier choice.
- There is research about avoiding chemicals used in sunscreen lotions. Many of these chemicals are considered hormone disruptors. Hormone disruptors can affect how estrogen and other hormones act in the body, by blocking them or mimicking them, which throws off the body’s hormonal balance. I rarely use sunscreen, but then that’s why I have wrinkles and age spots! Another damn if you do moment!
- I exercise as much as I can and keep my weight in the normal BMI range. I found it very interesting last year when the technician doing my mammogram asked if I played tennis because I had a strong muscle wall in my chest. She said it helps the doctors to see abnormalities in the breast tissue. (It was was from weight lifting 3 times a week.)
There are so many many ways to give back to breast cancer research and to breast cancer foundations. Please do your research when giving to these charities.
I really love the Breast Cancer Research Foundation that was started by Evelyn Lauder. This is the highest rated breast cancer organization in the US. Evelyn was actually the woman who designed the pink ribbon that is so highly recognizable with breast cancer awareness.
I noticed Delta was a supporter of BCRF when I was flying out to a wedding in Oregon this month. My baby brother Todd is a captain with Delta and his bride is a 9 year survivor.
Delta offers pink lemonade and pink martinis on all their flights through the month of October with all the proceeds going to BCRF.
(I hate to tell them that alcohol is not a good idea when using it for fund raising efforts for breast cancer. But people do enjoy their cocktails while flying.)
I support breast cancer research and do as much as I can in fund raising for this cause. Our little country club does a fabulous job creating awareness for breast cancer.
Every year we hold a fundraising week in October for Breast Cancer Awareness and we have such a wonderful turnout. The club is adorned in pink for the whole week and the tennis club and the golf club get so involved for raising funds. Many of the women who play golf and tennis are breast cancer survivors, or have family members who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
As you can see, we dress in layers for October weather. The weather is starting to get cooler in Atlanta. The mornings are low 50’s but we heat up to the 80’s by lunch!
My baby brother and his family do the annual walks for breast cancer in Minneapolis around Mother’s Day in honor of his wife and my nephew’s mother.
I don’t know if I will ever get breast cancer, but I will accept my fate as courageously as the women before me.
My pink Look:
I love wearing pink and was so happy that Chico’s is a supporter for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. I love wearing pink all year round but this fabulous pink pleated sleeve is from their fall collection.
Shop Pink Ribbon items:
Please note: This post contains affiliate links.
Here’s to being Pink and supporting all of those affected by breast cancer!
I hope you’re living your best life now and that age is just a number to you too!
I would love to hear from you and if you’ve been affected by breast cancer.