October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – the month when we are reminded of this disease by pink cupcakes and cookies in the grocery stores, pink ribbons at football games, pink shoes, pink hair brushes, pink lotions and potions and pink nail polish peeking out of story display windows, breast cancer jewelry appears in magazine ads and the ubiquitous pink T-shirts reminding us to “Think Pink.” I am reminded of this disease not only because of these symbols, but because of Val, Debbie, Tracy, Trudy, Susan, Sharon, Cindy, Sally, Carol, Amy and a myriad of others who are friends and family.
TownSquareBuzz.com will be “Thinking Pink” all month as we share stories about survivors who are right here in our town – your friends and neighbors. Each week during October, we will feature a breast cancer survivor, telling his or her story, hopefully, plating a ray of hope for any of our readers who are also going through the same, or a similar, struggle. We will cover how to eat to ward off cancer and we will talk with a therapist who will give suggestions for keeping your attitudes, as well as the attitudes of your family, positive. You can find all of these telling and informative stories in our Health section under the My Life category.
This week, my friend, Trudy Whitney, shares her story with our readers. I hope you will check in with Trudy if you missed it. Her sense of humor and compassion come through as you read her story “Think Pink”. We also heard from guest columnist, and former McKinney resident, Lisa Love Harris this week, as she weighs in on how her diagnosis has led her on an “incredible journey I never expected.”
My mother-in-law’s mother died of breast cancer in her forties, when her only child, my mother-in-law, was at the ripe old age of twenty three. I remember, over the years, that she would often say, as she watched her friends get diagnosed with breast cancer that “after all the money we’ve spent on that disease, people still die”. I would gently remind her that although many die from breast cancer, many, many more are survivors. If my mother-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s, was able to comprehend how far we’ve come in even the last ten years, I’m certain she would agree with me today.
Billions of dollars have been raised for breast cancer research thanks to organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, Warriors in Pink, where 100 percent of the net proceeds help support Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, and Join the Love/Avon Army of Women, Dr. Susan Love’s Research Foundation. Progress has been made – more needs to be made.
We find cancer earlier, treat it more effectively and thus raise the rate of survival. Treatment is changing as new drugs such as exemestane are on the threshold, new technology that is 1,000 times more sensitive than a mammogram and can pick up cancer cells much earlier, is being researched and treatment is becoming more customized, often with less grueling radiation treatments, which previously were the norm.
It is obvious that breast cancer awareness month has improved awareness. The media attention, the plethora of pink-hued products on store shelves, as well as the strong women who are willing to speak about their journeys with breast cancer, have showered the disease with attention – but in a positive way. We now know more about prevention and early detection being critical components to fighting breast cancer. We know that we have to raise more money for research so that we can prevent someone else we love from dying from the disease.
So, lets win more than a battle here and there – let’s win this war against breast cancer. Have you had your mammogram this year? Have you bought a product from a company that is willing to donate a portion of the funds from that purchase to cancer research?
TSB would love to hear from our readers. Are you, or someone you know, a breast cancer survivor? If you would like to share your story, click on “I Have a Story to Share” on our Homepage.
The following, according to the October issue of Health, are five ways to cut your risk of getting breast cancer:
1. Work out daily. Get moving for 45-60 minutes five days a week
2. Stay on the slim side. Obesity increases your risk of developing breast cancer.
3. Breast feed if you can.
4. Eat more plants. Studies show that fiber seems to lower the incidence of breast cancer, as well as other cancers.
5. Don’t smoke. Drink in moderation.