My new favorite of all the cancer awareness campaigns is the Fight Like a Girl Club. This is an organization that brings awareness to various diseases and how they affect women and their families. Although breast cancer is a dominating focus of their campaigns, you can find touching stories of women, who have battled ovarian cancer, diabetes, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis and a long list of other diseases and conditions.
Their campaign is small, but as awareness grows, so will support for this clever campaign. You can check out the Fight Like a Girl Club and purchase cool merchandise to support their campaign or build your own fundraiser in support of their cause.
And, in honor of breast cancer awareness month, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss awareness – early awareness. In your 30s, you only approximately 5 percent risk of breast cancer – outside of family history and lifestyle risk factors. Nonetheless, it can be helpful to know what you can do to protect your health.
In your 30s, your most common concern with “the girls” is likely breast pain. It is not uncommon for thirty-somethings to have fibrocystic breasts. This term refers to the lumpy tenderness that occurs with hormonal changes and is a benign condition. Reducing your caffeine intake and taking small amounts of evening primrose oil may reduce the discomfort, according to Health.com’s interview with Holly Smedira, M.D., a medical breast specialist at the Cleveland Clinic Breast Center.
Mammograms may not be part of your yearly check-up just yet, but self-examination is important. Jane Smith, M.D., director of the New York University Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention Program told Health.com, “The more you examine your breasts, the more likely you are to differentiate between normal hormone-related bumpiness and a potentially precancerous growth.”
Want to protect your breasts as you age? Breast feed your babies. Not only is breast-feeding good for your little one, but a study out of the University of Southern California found that older moms (women who have their first child after the age of 25), reduce their risk of breast cancer if they breast feed.
If you have a first-degree relative who was diagnosed breast or ovarian cancer, you should begin regular mammogram screenings 10 years earlier than the age they were at diagnosis. If you have two or more first-degree relatives diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer talk with your doctor about a BRAC analysis – genetic screening to determine if you are a carrier of the gene that increases your likelihood of these cancers.