Run Momma Run is about celebrating and connecting women who run. It’s about supporting each other on our common quest for healthy lifestyles, fitness and our sometimes crazy sport. In the middle of celebrating, however, I was thrown a curve ball: breast cancer.
For nearly all of this last year my quest for health became a quest for survival, physically, mentally and emotionally. The experience throws you off, to say the least. I am 7 months post treatment and I am still adjusting to all that took place. It was 9 short weeks from diagnosis to surgery to radiation. As quickly as that storm blew in, it packed up and moved on. But it left me wondering “Did all that really just happen?” Although it shook my confidence, and as I try now to balance my new, healthier life, I find that I like the new me. I’m a little softer around the edges and more tuned into my senses.
Life is full of surprises and many of them change you. Change is a good thing. And so is evaluating where you are with your health.
As we all know October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. We at Run Momma Run thought it might be a good time to remind you of the things we know most of you are doing right to cut your chances of getting breast cancer as well as something you might not know.
Breast cancer isn’t just one disease. There are many kinds of breast cancer and within those, many subcategories. Surprisingly, young women tend to get more aggressive breast cancer. This is confusing to many because cancer is usually a disease associated with aging. The thought process is that young women are not frequently screened, therefore, once diagnosed, their cancer is more advanced. So, encourage your younger girlfriends and relatives to get familiar with their breasts so they can recognize any changes. The recommended age for mammograms is 40. Noticing a change in your breasts happens at any age.
Breast Cancer Prevention Check In
After doing a lot of studying on the subject over the last year, I wanted to share what seems to be the top 4 key things we can do to keep breast cancer at bay. Luckily for us, most of us fitness freaks are already in line with these prevention tips. If you’re slacking in one area, however, this month is a perfect time to focus on it and make some changes.
1. Lose Weight Extra pounds increases your chances of getting breast cancer by 40%. One study showed women who gained 20-30 pounds after age 18 had a higher risk of postmenopausal breast cancer than women who gained no more than five pounds. 78% of doctors polled recommend patients drop pounds to help fend off the disease.
2. Exercise More With as little as an hour and 15 minutes a week of brisk walking you can reduce your risk by 18%. Imagine what running does!
3. Drink Less Alcohol. Having two drinks a day ups your risk by 21%. Most doctors recommend limiting yourself to 3 drinks a week. There is a “dose response” to keep in mind, the more you drink, the higher your risk.
4. Reduce Toxins Eat lots of fresh fruit and greens, preferably organic, avoid cigarette smoke, and exposure to gasoline by-products. Breasts are like sponges: they absorb things quickly, including toxins. One mom had her breast milk tested and it came back positive for flame retardants, pesticides, and ingredients found in jet fuel. Really?
One of the things I really enjoy about living in Eugene and surrounding myself with runner momma’s is that many of these things are already in place. I notice how people care about themselves, are active, who live with intention and care about others.
Thanks for letting me share with you today. Feel free to chime in on what keeps you motivated to stay healthy.