I was very honored when my friends at Glam and the American Cancer Society asked me to help spread the word about the upcoming Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks that will taking place around the nation next month (click here more information about the walks right here in Atlanta! And yes, I will be walking!). And if we’re gonna be talking about walking for breast cancer awareness, it’s only right that I put on my pink laced sneakers!
I think putting on cute sneakers and walking a few (or 20) miles is the least I can do to promote breast cancer awareness — something that I truly believe is so incredibly important (although, I think these ladies one-upped me in their pink bras last year!)
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you guys how important this cause is, but you know,there’s something about being young that just makes you feel invincible. Sure, women under 40 account for only about 5% of new breast cancer cases, but we’re talking about 5% of a pretty large number. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2011 alone, approximately 230,480 new cases were expected to be diagnosed, and 39,520 women were expected to die from breast cancer. And, as a black woman, it was also interesting to learn that black women in particular seem to have higher incidence rates of breast cancer before 40, and are more likely to die from breast cancer at any age.
Knowing all of this information now, it is no surprise that my primary care doctor referred me for my first mammogram at the age of 26, after discovering what she thought was a suspicious lump. Of course, the thought of getting a mammogram terrified me beyond belief…I even made my mom come with me! Thankfully, it turns out that I have what fancy medical folks call “fibrocystic breasts” also know to us laymen (or women) as lumpy boobs. This basically means detecting a normal lump vs. a cancerous lump may be a bit tricky for me. So, while I don’t necessarily do monthly self exams, my doctor taught me how and recommend that I do them often and let her know right away if I notice anything abnormal…after all, nobody knows my breasts better than I do. And, the ACS recommends the same for all women…we all need to be ultra aware of how our breasts look and feel. Early detection is key in the fight against breast cancer.
“From 1990-2007, death rates decreased by 3.2% per year among women younger than 50, and by 2.0% per year among women 50 and older. The decline in breast cancer mortality has been attributed to both improvements in breast cancer treatment and early detection.” – American Cancer Society
So, am I telling you to run out and get a mammogram tomorrow? No! But, I am telling you that awareness is essential…for you, and for every other woman you know. So spread the word!
And with that, I am going to leave you all with another awesome and inspiring video from breast cancer survivors who’s lives have been touched by the American Cancer Society and the Making Strides movement! Enjoy!
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the American Cancer Society’s nationwide series of walking events to raise funds and awareness to end breast cancer.