Today’s guest scheduled was Jennifer Haymore, and as many of you may know Jennifer announced on her website yesterday that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Our hearts and warm thoughts go out to Jennifer and her loved ones as she goes through this difficult time.
We thought today would be best spent by offering some basic information to all our Mamas and writers out there. So we went to the Susan G. Komen website to look for facts to share. We pulled this information from this PDF.
What you need to know
Can I prevent breast cancer?
The causes of breast cancer are not fully understood. Although it is clear that age, gender and lifetime exposure to estrogen and other factors play an important role. Because no one knows exactly what causes breast cancer, there are no sure ways to prevent it. However, there are steps that you can take that may reduce your risk. These include maintaining a healthy weight, adding exercise into your routine and limiting alcohol intake. For women at higher risk, tamoxifen or raloxifene may be taken to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Who gets breast cancer?
Anyone can get breast cancer. For example, did you know…
- the older a woman, the more likely she is to getbreast cancer?
- white women are more likely to get breast cancer than women of any other racial or ethnic group?
- African American women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women?
- men can get breast cancer? Out of every one hundred cases of breast cancer, one will occur in a man.
Am I at risk for breast cancer?
All women are at risk for breast cancer. Known risk factors like having a family history of breast cancer, starting menopause after age 55 or never having children account for only a small number of new breast cancer cases every year. That means that most women who get breast cancer have no known risk factors except being a woman and getting older.
Your best defense
The best way to find breast cancer early is to get screened. Talk to your health care provider about what screening tests are right for you.
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. It is the best screening tool used today to find breast cancer early. A mammogram can find cancer in its earliest stages, even before a lump can be felt. All women 40 and older should have a mammogram every year. If you are younger than 40 with either a family history of breast cancer or other concerns, talk with your health care provider about when to start getting mammograms or other screening tests, like MRI, and how often to have them.
A clinical breast exam is done by a health care provider who checks your breasts and underarm areas for any lumps or changes. Many women have a clinical breast exam when they get their Pap test. Women should have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years between the ages of 20 and 39 and every year starting at 40. Know what is normal for you.
Breast self-exam (BSE) is a tool that may help you learn what is normal for you. BSE involves two main steps, looking at and feeling your breasts for any change from normal. If you notice any change, see your health care provider right away. At your next appointment, ask your health care provider to show you the steps for BSE. (For step-by-step BSE
instructions, go to www.komen.org/bse.)
And as always, every woman should do a self exam. We found this image on breastline.com. Click the image to see a larger version.
Talking to Kids About Cancer
In searching for more resources to share, I found a website called breastcancermoms.com that had one of the best descriptions for children of cancer I’ve read yet, so I thought I’d add it to this. They have a ton of terrific information, including tools, illustrations, tools to share with your children to help them express their feelings. If you have children who need to know or have questions, here is the perfect resource.
Support By “Grabbing Your Boobs”
Over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Novels, SB Sarah has created a t-shirt for which proceeds go to the Young Survivor Coalition. You can choose the shirt, size, etc, but this is a great way to support. A reader of theirs, Lisa Heermann, has also provided a PDF pathfinder on Cancer Resources for the Innocent Bystander. Check it out at SB,TN.
In her blog, Jennifer Haymore said, “It’s hard to say what the next few months are going to be like for me. But there are a few things I do know: I’m going to keep writing books. I’m going to keep reading and supporting my fellow authors. Most of all, I’m going to watch my three young kids grow up, and someday I will know my grandchildren.”
That amazing courage and strength deserves to be honored, along with every woman who has faced cancer. We couldn’t think of a better way than The Pink Glove Dance video: