October 14, 2010

Write Pink! Kimberly's Story

My first cousin is a 2 time breast cancer survivor. After watching her heroic battle with cancer, you would think that I would be a breast cancer expert. But I am not. In fact, I am so uneducated that I do not even know to give myself a proper self-exam.

For this week's Bigger Picture Moment, I decided to do some research - after all knowledge is power. I went hour reading various documents, articles, websites, and speaking with breast cancer survivors and my own doctor. Here are a few of the interesting (at least two me) things that I learned:

- Women in there 30's have a 1 in 229 chance of developing breast cancer. By age 40, the chance increases to 1 in 69.

- My diet can be a factor in increasing/decreasing my risk of breast cancer. Some studies have found that a diet high in saturated fat may increase breast cancer risk, but a diet high in monounsaturated fat may lower breast cancer risk.

- Diet is not the only lifestyle factor that can have an impact on my breast cancer risk. Exercise has the potential to lower the risk of developing breast cancer by 20%.

- A lump in my breast my not be the only sign of potential cancer. When performing self exams, I should be looking for the following changes:
  1. Lump, hard knot or thickening
  2. Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
  3. Change in the size or shape of the breast
  4. Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  5. Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  6. Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  7. Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  8. New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

The most important thing that I learned this week is that this is my body. And because it is MY BODY, it is my responsibility to do all I can to educate myself about breast cancer. Then I have to put that education into action.

What new information have you learned about breast caner? How are you going to put your knowledge into action?


Hyacynth said...

Great post, Kimberly, about being aware of our own bodies and educating ourselves on how to best know our bodies.
Thanks for linking up.
This week, I learned that my next step of prevention is to aim for a lower BMI -- I had previously rested in the fact that I was a fairly healthy weight. But I realized I should be more concerned about BMI.

Maria said...

When I was nursing Mia, I developed an infection that grew rapidly out of control and wouldn't respond to antibiotics or treatment. For 3 months, I had a lump the size of a softball, redness, swelling, and pain, but no fever or other symptoms of mastitis. When the doctor said that they wanted to remove some tissue to check for inflammatory breast cancer, we were completely floored. I had never even HEARD of that before. Fortunately, the results came back negative, though I ultimately gave up breastfeeding to resolve the situation.

I've made alot of changes in the last year. I've started running, dropped 30 lbs, and purified my/our diet. I believe it's all about moderation. You can have lazy days, or the occassional fast food meal, or a second dessert, as long as that's the exception and not the norm.