Breast cancer affects almost every family nowadays. According to breastcancer.org, 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer. Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. Symptoms of breast cancer include a lump in the breast, bloody discharge from the nipple, and changes in the shape or texture of the nipple or breast.
In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than White women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. For Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women, the risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is significantly lower. And did you know that men can develop breast cancer too?
Early detection is key! Women ages 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year. I have had my share of mammograms due to dense breasts and a breast reduction (better safe than sorry, right?). Besides following the guidelines for screening, there are several things that you can do now to help lower your risk. Research says that lifestyle changes may decrease the risk of breast cancer. Lower your risk by limiting alcohol, control your weight, don’t smoke, exercise regularly, breastfeed, limit dose and duration of hormone therapy, and avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution.
Breast cancer has hit close to home a few times now. My first encounter with the ugly disease was about 17 years ago. My Auntie Karen was diagnosed at just 32 years old. Our family took it very hard. She was an amazing wife, mother, and friend. She battled breast cancer for 7 years but in 2003 at the young age of 39, she passed away. Karen left behind a husband and two young sons. My aunt was a true Sporty Momma. Her smile and kindness would light up a room. It has been a while but I think of her quite often and her spirit will always live on. She is the inspiration behind the Sporty Mommas Charitable Bowling Bash that raises funds for breast cancer.
As we get older, it is not that uncommon to have a loved one get diagnosed with breast cancer. There are amazing treatment options that are available now that weren’t available for Karen. So remember that early detection is key. Do you want to help a family member or friend dealing with cancer but not sure how? Here are a few tips that can help you help someone going through treatment.
How to Help
- Offer a ride to treatment.
- Prepare or purchase food for a few days (this helps especially when kids are at home).
- Make a care package with goodies like lotion, soap, toiletries, and a good book.
- Gift cards always come in handy.
- Let them know that you care and are there for them. A simple handwritten note can put a smile on anyone’s face.