3 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer by Shaney jo Darden
Guest post by Shaney jo Darden, founder The Keep a Breast Foundation
The Keep A Breast Foundation was founded in response to the growing need for breast cancer awareness programs that focus on educating young people. My friends were being diagnosed in their 20s, and I had no prior comprehension of how early in life breast cancer could strike. It flipped a switch in my brain and I realized that it was my purpose to start this conversation with young people about breast cancer prevention. I wanted to do something that spoke to my peers. I use art and artistic expression to inform young people about methods of prevention, early detection and support.
Through our programs, Keep A Breast exists to change the global conversation around breast cancer among young people by empowering them with breast health education, which we hope will ultimately inspire them to adopt healthier habits. When I realized that breast cancer diagnosis was only 10 percent genetic and 90 percent our environment, I knew there was an even bigger conversation that need to be had. I started the Non Toxic Revolution to start a direct dialogue about the food we eat, the products we use and the toxins we are exposed to that really increase our risk of breast cancer and many other disease.
All images via The Keep a Breast Foundation
October is a big month to raise awareness of the need of prevention education for young people. We work on this all year, but October gives us a huge platform to bring people into our community and encourage them to become a part of the conversation. Using clean personal care products, like S.W. Basics, is already a great start to lowering your risk, and here are a few more!
In order to know when something is wrong, you have to know how your body feels when it’s right, your normal, we like to call it. We encourage everyone to check his or her boobies monthly (guys too!) to know your normal. Young people can and do get breast cancer, so we encourage starting monthly self-checks as early as possible. No scary medical procedures, just getting to know your boobies and starting that positive relationship with them. Research shows that 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who discover their own lump. You can download our app to get a monthly reminder and step-by-step guide to checking yourself!
Move Your Body
Some studies have shown that just 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week can lower your risk of breast cancer by 30-50 percent. This October, we have started a movement called Fit 4 Prevention with a goal is to inspire people to reduce their risk of cancers by adopting a healthier, more active lifestyle, in a way that sparks their inner champion. Exercise boosts your T-cells, which strengthen your immune system and help you fight cancer cells. Hiking and other exercise releases adrenaline and endorphins, which can decrease tension, anxiety, and blood pressure levels. This can reduce risk of depression and will leave you feeling better physically and mentally, which will encourage you to continue your new healthy habits. Studies show that exercising during and after treatment benefits cancer survivors in several ways, ranging from improved fitness and higher quality of life to reduced rates of recurrence and a longer life. Cancer patients who exercise may experience less nausea and less fatigue. It’s never too late to use exercise to fight cancer. If you’re coping with cancer or its aftermath, now is the time!
See if there is a Fit 4 Prevention event near you, or get your local studio to participate and host a donation-cased class to benefit Keep A Breast!
Detox Your Life
Environmental factors contribute up to 90% of breast cancer diagnosis. That includes the products we use in our home and on our bodies. The cosmetics industry is very loosely regulated and unfortunately the ingredients they use are often not safe. There claim is that their one product contains a “safe level” of harmful chemicals, but when women use an average of 12 products daily, which equals an average of 168 chemicals we are exposing our body to daily. Men use less, but still expose their skin to 85 chemicals daily. When we use that many products that contain potential carcinogens, the levels of those chemicals pass the safety mark. Many chemicals used in personal care, such as parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, triclosan, and fragrance have been directly linked to cancer and other diseases. Luckily, there are many great companies that produce non toxic cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products to keep our bodies free of as many toxins as we can control. Check out Non Toxic Revolution and Open This Pit Up to switch your deodorant to non toxic, and download Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Living App to scan products in store so you can shop smart and non toxic!