by Holly Raby, guest blogger
Spoiler alert- I’m going to reveal one of the latest Facebook games going around!
In past years, women have been asked to update their Facebook status with their bra color, the location of their purse, and other odd statuses in the name of Breast Cancer Awareness. One of this year’s versions is to post a heart as your status.
This is supposed to promote Breast Cancer awareness. Can anyone tell me how, since one of the rules of the game is “if anyone asks you why you have a heart as your status, don’t tell them”? What’s the point? How does that spread awareness? And besides, isn’t everyone already aware of Breast Cancer?
How about something more useful? If you want to do something meaningful for October, do something that will actually help yourself or someone else. Don’t settle for posting a heart and buying a pink water bottle. Start a conversation. Take a stand.
- If you’re 40 or older and haven’t had a mammogram in the past 12 months, schedule one.
- If you’re told “it’s probably just a cyst”, or “probably just an area of dense tissue”, or “you’re too young” (breast cancer can hit at any age- even teens) demand an ultrasound or mammogram to confirm.
- Make a donation to Metavivor (www.metavivor.org) – a volunteer organization that provides grant money to researchers looking into cures for Metastatic Breast Cancer.
- Make a donation to Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (www.mbcn.org). MBCN’s mission is awareness of mbc, education for patients and advocacy for treatments to extend our lives.
- If you’re in the Twin Cities, shop at Hope Chest For Breast Cancer (http://hopechest.us/) – proceeds provide emergency financial support to women with Breast Cancer to help them cover their rent, utilities, and transportation costs so they can get to doctor appointments, and don’t have to make the decision of whether this month’s paycheck goes to chemo or their landlord. (And Hope Chest has super cute stuff!)
- Before throwing random pink items in your shopping cart, find out how much, and to where, that company is donating. If the company doesn’t or can’t tell you, reconsider the purchase.
- Join Army of Women (www.armyofwomen.org) , and help researchers find the cause of Breast Cancer. They need women of all ages, with or without any prior history of breast cancer.
- Post some of the following facts, instead of a heart, as your FaceBook status:
- 280,000 women and 2,000 men will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer this year in the US.
- According to American Cancer Society, 39,520 women and 450 men died of breast cancer in 2011.
- A lump is not the only sign/symptom of Breast Cancer. One type, Inflammatory Breast Cancer, doesn’t present with a lump at all.
- Risk factors include being a woman, being overweight, not exercising, not eating healthy, smoking, getting older, and drinking alcohol. You can control most of these. Learn more: http://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/. But doing everything right doesn’t make you immune, either. You can’t prevent Breast Cancer, but you can reduce your risks.
- 1 in 8 women will be affected by Breast Cancer in her lifetime.
- 20-30% of women diagnosed with an early stage (stage I, II, or III) cancer will have the cancer return months, years, or decades later as stage IV (metastatic). 6-10% of women (like me) will be diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer from the get-go.
- There is no cure for Metastatic Breast Cancer.
- Only 5-10% of Breast Cancer cases are due to genetic factors.
- Check out some of these blogs to get a glimpse into the daily life of someone with Breast Cancer:
My Big Girl Pants- http://mybiggirlpants.blogspot.com/
Planet Toddler- http://toddlerplanet.wordpress.com/ (Sadly, the author of this blog died in February 2012, but her blog leaves a legacy of her fight to the very end)
I Hate Breast Cancer- http://ihatebreastcancer.wordpress.com/
F*ck Cancer- http://fckcancer-carla.blogspot.com/
Any of these, named best breast cancer blog of 2012- http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-breast-cancer-blogs#1
Thank you, on behalf of all women currently living with Breast Cancer, for helping us spread meaningful and useful information about this.