October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Have you been checked?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I celebrate it like it's Christmas. In 2007, at the age of 47, my mom had a checkup that led us to hear the words that we couldn't even imagine at that age: BREAST CANCER. What started off as a spot the size of a pencil lead tip ended with a lumpectomy, lymph node removal, chemotherapy and radiation. My mom was the strongest, yet the weakest, I had ever seen her in life. And although we were scared, God gave us this confidence that she would be okay.
I've had to trust in that confidence over the last few years, as her stage 3 cancer that went into remission in 2008 came back in 2019 as stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. This means that the cancer has spread beyond the breast and has affected another area. For her, it was a rib. And right now, it's stable and she's doing good. But we are faced with the reality that there is no cure, which is why this month means so much to me.
Breast cancer research has came so far over the years, but there's still a lot to learn. There are also barriers that need to be broken down in society to ensure everyone has fair access to treatments. October is a national reminder that we need to wake up and take care of our health and the health of those around us. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. Let's break that down. If you have a crowd of 40 women, 5 of those women will develop breast cancer. And I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but ask yourself these questions:
Are you under the age of 50 with a close family history of cancer?
Are you getting older?
Are you holding on to some extra weight, and not really physically active?
Did you have your first child after 30?
Did you start your cycle before 12 or menopause after 55?
How many of those questions did you answer 'yes' to? If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, you have to take breast cancer seriously.
So, because I'm at high risk of cancer, I'm trying to do some things to lower it. This includes changing my diet and losing weight through regular exercise (which is a daily struggle, but it's working) and doing monthly self-breast examinations. You need to get used to how your boobs feel, so that you can spot any abnormal lumps. I'm also having my first mammogram since I've turned 40 and I'm having my genes tested for the genetic markers for cancer. Even if you’re not at high risk, I still advise you to develop your own health game plan because the sooner you know about cancer, the higher your odds of beating it. And no one is immune to it.
If you’re looking for other ways to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month, consider supportMing an organization (either nationally or locally) that is helping with breast cancer research and/or support. Last year, we donated to the American Cancer Society because when mom was in the hospital the first time, a representative from a local chapter came and brought her a handmade pillow and hat that she used the whole time. I actually think we still have both of them! It's those little things that really helped her, so we want to be a reason that they can continue doing what they're doing. This year, in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we've curated items on our shopping page, Created to Restored, that spread hope and inspiration for those battling cancer (and those who need a little hope), and 10% of the pre-tax sales are going to a local organization that's helping with breast cancer support for those with limited access to the medical care they need. To shop our site, click here,
For more information on breast cancer, its statistics and its risk factors, visit the CDC website and the website for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.