Breast cancer awareness... a matter close to my heart. Besides having more than one family member who has battled breast cancer, I am a public health nurse at the local health department, and one of my main functions is to screen for and educate about breast cancer.
|These are the lovely ladies I work with. I truly couldn't have better coworkers. I am on the bottom right in this picture.|
We just had a health fair honoring breast cancer survivors and we put on a luncheon for a few women who have come through our clinic and who are being treated for cancer.
My boss put together a beautiful lunch for these women. Yours truly was assigned to make the centerpiece. I used my anthropologie-inspired cake platter/ cupcake tower, some beautiful rose cupcakes (that Marissa mostly frosted), fresh fruit, and rainbow tissue flowers as accents. I think it turned out pretty good!
Important breast cancer information:
If you are at least 20 years old, you should be doing self breast exams. I know you may feel uncomfortable, or it may be difficult to remember, but do whatever you have to do to remind yourself! Put a note or sticker somewhere you will see it, or choose to do it on your birthday- date each month. If you are at least 40 years old, you need a mammogram every 1-2 years (every year after age 50). Men, please encourage the women in your lives to do this- it may save their life. When breast cancers are detected early, women have an excellent chance of survival. If you need a reminder on how to do a self- exam, check out this link that has step- by- step instructions.
I like to tell the women I screen that doing a breast self exam isn't really about following a rigid set of instructions or searching for cancer. Thinking of it that way can cause anxiety that may cause you to avoid even thinking about it. I recommend being aware of your body- becoming familiar with what is normal for you. Think of it as a way to have peace of mind. If you do notice a change, whether it be a lump, a change in color or texture of the skin on your breast, a change in shape or appearance of any part of the breast, or anything out of the ordinary that persists and doesn't resolve, you should have it checked immediately by a health care professional.
As women, we put so much of our energy into taking care of other people that we sometimes neglect to take care of ourselves. Please consider that you can best care for those you love by keeping yourself healthy! What I'm saying is that there really isn't any good excuse for not giving your health the attention it deserves.
If money or lack of insurance/ underinsurance is an issue, there are programs that offer free or low cost mammograms to women over 40 each year if you meet certain income requirements. The clinic I work at is one of these programs, and there are programs like this all over the U.S. You can check out the CDC’s website to find out if you qualify.
What can you do to help?
1. Get yourself screened.
2. Spread the word and encourage someone you love to get screened.
3. Show support this month for breast cancer awareness and those who have battled breast cancer by wearing pink or the BCA ribbon.
4. Raise money for breast cancer awareness by participating in or supporting fundraisers.
Make the world sweeter this month by doing as many things in the above list as you feel you can!