GIRL TALK

10 Things About Your Breast Cancer Risks

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face—Eleanor Roosevelt.

pink ribbon

I found this Inspirational saying fitting for October–Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a cause very close to our hearts here at Girl Talk. As I sit putting my thoughts down, I can’t help but remember my mother’s struggle with breast cancer. She faced it with dignity, fought the battle and best of all, she won. This week I have a friend who will be going into her last breast reconstructive surgery. She has fought the battle over the last year and she to has won. Now it’s putting the pieces back together again so to speak. Today I received an e-mail from her, and I would like to share a part of it with you. She is an inspiration to all that know her, and she carries the torch for all who need to know that winning the battle is possible with early detection.

“This has been an amazing year in a lot of ways, and I don’t want to wish it away. I have grown in many ways and developed wonderful relationships I would never have had.
Thank you again for your encouragement and friendship. It’s meant a lot to me. I’m looking forward to our next cup of coffee!”

You can bet I will be there for that cup of coffee. Cheers!

Now for the serious stuff.

The frightening fact is that breast cancer is a reality that many of us will be forced to face. A friend, relative, coworker, or even you will be diagnosed with this insidious disease. The stats say that one in 13 average women will have the disease in their lifetime. The figure of one in seven that is more commonly thrown around includes those who are at high risk, that is, if your mother or sister have or had breast cancer. Knowledge is power. Be informed and lower your odds. But keep in mind that doing so does not assure zero risk. It is also important to remember that many women who have a risk factor for breast cancer may never develop it.

Family History
Your family history and all those directly related to you, whether you like it or not, determine your genes, hormones and emotions. Your genetic makeup has a direct and unchangeable effect on your chances of getting breast cancer. Science is uncovering miraculous biological processes that control why we age as we do and what diseases we are predisposed to. Some genes can work in our favor and others can do the opposite.

Environment
Your environment refers to the air, water, food, people, sounds, stress, pollution, the home you live in, your lifestyle, and spaces you surround yourself with. Much of the food we eat and air we breathe is full of toxins, many of which have been proven carcinogenic. Remember that your skin is like a sponge, absorbing the environment that surrounds it. Airborne chemicals, smog, and smoke are just as easily sucked up by your skin as they would be if you ingested them through your mouth or inhaled into your lungs. Use common sense and try to limit anything that seems unnatural. Even small changes may make a difference, particularly if you are exposed chronically.

Stop Stressing
Stress wreaks havoc on the body creating an emotionally and therefore physically toxic environment. Harnessing and finding other outlets for stress will help keep you healthier and sane longer. Stress can decrease immunity and make you susceptible to disease. Yoga and meditation are avenues to explore in an effort to relieve stress in your life. Yoga instructors believe that doing yoga and/or meditation three times a week can offer your mind, body and soul the kind of rejuvenation that it needs to beat the stress in your life. Let all those stresses release from you’re body and try some yoga or meditation.

Lose Weight
If you are overweight, losing excess pounds may reduce your risk of breast cancer. Extra fat tissue produces an excess of estrogen, which in turn can stimulate the growth of breast cells — both normal and abnormal. So make a pledge to yourself that you will win the battle of the bulge and lose those unwanted pounds. You will walk with a bounce in your step if you do–I guarantee it.

Stop Smoking
Women who regularly smoke have a 30% higher risk of breast cancer than non smokers. Enough said.

A Drink a Day
Enjoy a drink a day and you’ll be better off than a teetotaler. Why is that? Your liver helps regulate the levels of estrogen in your body. The more estrogen floating around, the higher your risk of breast cancer. Limit yourself to one alcoholic drink per day in order to help your liver efficiently do its job.

Eat More Healthy Foods
Always shop the perimeter of a grocery store. There is where all the goodness resides such as fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, fish and fresh homemade whole wheat breads. Choose foods that look the same when you eat them as when they come out of the ground or were grown. Fish — particularly those high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines, and herring — are thought to have cancer-fighting properties. Eat more fish and chicken and less red meats to decrease your overall chance of developing cancer.

Eat Fewer Processed, Overcooked, and Fatty Foods
When it comes to processed foods, your motto should be, “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it”. Fatty foods are your enemy. They serve no purpose, so try to eliminate these characters from your menu. Saturated animal fat found in red meat and whole-fat dairy products like butter have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer in young women. Another “need to know” is that eating charred or burnt meat is the enemy. This is a huge no,no. That black char, scientists say, may up your odds of getting breast cancer. It doesn’t taste good either so just skip it?

Exercise
Exercise is a no brainer in trying to keep healthy in staving off diseases. Recent studies link moderate physical exercise with improved immune function and circulation. Both are essential in an attempt to ward off the breast cancer cells. Exercise has also proven to increase the quality of life for breast cancer survivors. How does this occur? It increases strength and energy levels and improves psychological behavior and mood. Exercise is a great investment with a great return.

Early Detection
In addition to focusing on prevention, remember that breast self-exams should be performed on a monthly basis beginning in women in their 20’s. Making yourself self-aware is important in identifying changes and possible abnormalities in your breasts. Become familiar with your breasts. Abnormalities or changes should be reported to your physician. A self exam each month could save you’re life. In addition to self-exams, annual mammograms should be considered beginning at age 40. Mammograms continues to be the best screening tool to detect breast cancer and has been shown to decrease mortality from breast cancer by more than 30% in routinely screened patients. There is controversy here so please check with your physician.

In this month of October, please be proactive and begin this program designed to beat this deadly disease. Bottom line: Protect “The Girls” by minimizing your risk factors and monitoring your breasts. It’s the month to start.

Turn It On and Look Fab!

Juetta West

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