Another October is upon us and for most of us that means thinking about how you are going to top last year’s Halloween costume, and finalizing plans and purchasing plane tickets to go back home for Thanksgiving. Somewhere in there it may run across your mind that it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month due to the media pretty much pinking-out EVERYTHING. As I prepared for my October editorial schedule for Sideline Socialite, I had great plans of pinking the site out just like the NFL does for all of their games (with athletes wearing pink cleats, and pink sweatbands). Even my friend’s son who plays high school football told me that district-wide the boys will be wearing pink when they play. I love the color pink so pinking-out everything including my blog is not a stretch for me. While these symbols of solidarity for Breast Cancer Awareness are cute and nice, is it enough?
The sad truth is that everyone will be touched by breast cancer in some way or another. My grandmother had breast cancer and in the name of not wanting to “put anyone out” she stayed silent and fell victim to it. Whether you know someone who knows someone, whether you have a close relative that has been diagnosed, or if you yourself have had it, it touches us all. So what can we do to stay aware during breast Cancer AWARENESS month? I think the first step is to determine that this October is not going to just be another October where it’s about the color pink but it’s about taking action for your own individual health and planting seeds for the future in finding a cure.
1. Get your ta-ta’s checked. I am really good about scheduling a yearly physical with my doctor (I may not be so good about the dentist though.) During my physical is when my doctor gives me a little boob check (cold hands and all…ALWAYS cold…what’s up with that?!) If you are under the age of 50 a self breast exam or a manual exam from your doctor is all you have to do and you are good to go! Heck…make it fun and have your husband do it, hee hee! I am sure he would be down for that probably weekly if not daily! If you are 50+ it is important to make sure that you are scheduling a yearly mammogram beyond the self check. When I was 25 I detected 2 lumps in my breast by conducting a self exam. It was the scariest thing, I’m not going to lie to you! I remember having everyone feel to see if I was imagining it and I wasn’t. I went to my general practitioner who also confirmed what I felt and she ordered an ultrasound. With my mom by my side I had the ultrasound and the lumps were benign with the order to monitor them to make sure they didn’t grow. It was terrifying, yes, but I am so glad that I checked it out.
2. Realize that that breast cancer does not just affect old people. Of people with breast cancer 1 in 5 are under the age of 40. With early detection (with the help of conducting self breast exams) breast cancer is 100% curable!
I recently met Megan Silianoff, who owns a creative services firm in Houston, at an event where I was really tying to get my networking on (all about that hustle!) Megan gave me her card, so like the good little blogger that I am I wanted to follow up with her. In doing so and researching what she does, I came to find out that she had also written a book (or 2, 0r 3!) The fact that this 20-something looking creative services firm owning chick had written a book really had me intrigued, so naturally I google-stalked her and stumbled upon her book “99 Problems but a Baby Ain’t One” on an Amazon preview. In the preview I quickly learned that she had cancer, and her book was compiled blog posts that helped her and her family deal with the diagnosis. Also, it was like the funniest memoir I have ever read! Of course the Amazon preview was not enough and in contacting her I asked if she could send me a autographed copy (such a nerd, I know). I hung on every word of her book and read it all in one sitting. I would highly recommend you reading this book and/or gifting it to someone that may be going through the same thing.
3. Exercise more and drink less. Exercising 10-19 hours per week can lower your risk of breast cancer up to 30%! By limiting alcohol intake (relax, I am not saying quit the sauce all together,) you can further lower your risk. For someone like me who has a history of breast cancer in my family, this is HUGE! I would be silly to not want to prevent it. I know it’s hard when you feel great to be motivated to take preventive measures when you are the perfect picture of health. Make it fun and challenge yourself to stay active. Although, I really need to step my game up in the work out department, my advice to you is to do what you like! I like dance classes and I am WAY more motivated to work out when I have cute work out clothes to wear. I also like working out for a specific goal. Whenever I do a 5k I am so serious about training so that I am not dead the day after the race. October is the perfect month with the perfect weather to find a race and get your fitness on! You can go here and find a breast cancer run or walk near you.
4. Donate. Wearing pink is great and all but how does it help the cause? Donate to help further research, donate for your kids and their kids, kids. Donate in the name of someone who has fallen to breast cancer. You can donate to the American Cancer Society here or the National Breast Cancer Foundation here.
For more information on self checks, what to do if you feel something, and prevention please visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation site.