Saving Second Base | Breast Cancer Awareness

Featured, Inspiration

October 11, 2021

Maybe it was a neighbor, a teacher, a family member or friend… or maybe it was you. Whoever it was and whatever the outcome, we all have been impacted in some way by breast cancer. It’s estimated that in 2020 alone, 279,100 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed.

Though there isn’t a way to prevent nor cure breast cancer, there are numerous ways that you can lower your risk of developing it. I encourage you to START TODAY! Make the commitment to awareness, to prevention and most importantly, to the fight of your life, for your life. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and though awareness is great, action is even better. Below is a list of a few ways that you can aid in the fight, PLUS! resources and partners that are making true impact, this month and always!

Beware of “Pink Washing”

(noun) A marketing tactic. The exploitation of breast cancer for profit or public relations. The act of supporting the breast cancer cause or promoting a pink ribbon product while actively producing, manufacturing, or selling products linked to the disease. (www.thebreasties.org)

As noted on The Breasties website, Breast cancer has become a multibillion dollar industry but it’s entirely unregulated. It’s on us, especially throughout the month of October and amidst the influx of “pink washing” to do our diligence in responsibly making an impact. Check out their site for more insight on their initiative Pink is not the Problem and a full list of ways to Combat Pinkwashing!

Self Examination

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that all women 20 years of age or older should perform monthly breast self-examinations. The best time to do so is the day after your monthly period ends. What to look for? Lumps in the breast or armpit, changes in breast shape or size and/or skin or nipple changes.

Do yourself a favor- set a monthly reminder in your phone so that you don’t forget! 

Get a Mammogram, Ma’m!

If you are over the age of 40, it is recommended that you schedule annual screening mammograms. For women younger than 40 with a family history or other risk factors, speak with your health care provider for an appropriate screening recommendation. 

Spectrum Health makes your annual screening even easier with their Mobile Mammography unit that travels throughout the community to serve a variety of patients, including women who may not have access to mammograms. You can schedule your appointment HERE

Birth Control & Hormones

Some birth control methods use hormones which might increase the chances of breast cancer development. Studies have found that oral contraceptives cause a slightly higher risk for women using them. However, it has also been seen that the same risk can go back to normal within about 10 year after the pills have stopped. (American Cancer Society)

Speak to your doctor about options that are of lower risk or that have lower to no amounts of additional hormones. {I currently use ParaGard}

Take Care of Your Body

Including (and not limited to!) staying active, not smoking, and limiting your alcohol consumption. Make a change to help lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

Genetic Counseling and Testing

Though only about 5-10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary, there are certain genes (or mutations) that could have been inherited from your parents that potentially put you at a higher risk.

  • BRCA1 and BRCA2: The most common cause of hereditary breast cancer is an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. In normal cells, these genes help make proteins that repair damaged DNA. Mutated versions of these genes can lead to abnormal cell growth, which can lead to cancer. (American Cancer Society)

More information on genetic counseling can be found on the American Cancer Society’s website. It should be noted that the testing in itself cannot definitively tell you whether or not you will acquire breast cancer. However, if you are a carrier of the higher-risk gene(s), you can better equip yourself to combat any future circumstances that may arise.

Events & Partners Giving Back

Below are some amazing events and partners that are doing their part to give back this month:

  • Lima, a business created by women on a mission to engage, empower and give back through their candles and gifts is doing something even more special throughout the month of October. Lima is donating 100% of the profits made through their “SHE” candles to Beautiful You By Profile, a local non-profit that provides complimentary salon and spa services, wigs, and headwear to women and girls who are experiencing hair loss due to cancer treatments. To learn more about Lima or Beautiful By You, click the links! For a direct link to the “SHE” candle, click HERE!
  • Through their own desires to feel less alone in one of the hardest times of their lives, Paige More and Bianca Munizthey, co-founded The Breasties, an organization that provides free retreats, inclusive online-communities and events for, as they so perfectly state on their website, everyone. “Survivors, previvors, warriors, thrivers, carevivors and supporters. This organization believes in the power of community, collaboration and inclusivity, because we truly are stronger together.” To lean more about their initiative Pink is Not the Problem, click HERE!
  • Making Strides of West Michigan: On Saturday, October 16th, Making Strides of West Michigan is back this years’ Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk! Pick your path and make an impact. To register, map out a route or make a donation, click HERE!

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