October is breast cancer awareness month, meaning Denverites are wearing a lot of pink these days. Fifty thousand people ran through the streets on October 2 to raise money ($3 million, thank you very much) at the 19th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event. The American Airlines counter at Denver International Airport is swathed in pink. Even the NFL gets wrapped up in promoting the girly color by donning pink gloves, shoes, socks, and more.
All of this support is with good reason: This year, over 3,400 women in Colorado will be diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s a lot of mothers, daughters, wives, and children. Since my mother passed away from breast cancer, this time of year always reinvigorates my passion to spread the word about some of the important, but easy ways to stay informed, like these quick tips on how to fight this disease.
1. Perform a self-exam. Yes, feel yourself up. Early detection is key.
2. Eat well. Drop the soda-and-chips habit pronto, and reach instead for water, walnuts, tomatoes, and more healthy options.
3. Maintain a healthy weight. Feel better, lower your chances of cancer, and fit into your skinny jeans? Sign me up.
4. Exercise. Get on that treadmill, pump that iron, or just go for an evening stroll a few times a week. Every step makes a difference.
5. Know your history. If you have an immediate relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer, you are almost twice as likely to develop the disease. Talk to your doctor about how frequently you should get a mammogram. You can also get tested for the BRCA1 or 2 gene (mutation of these genes has been linked to hereditary breast cancer).
6. Support others. Know someone who is fighting breast cancer? Help them out with a homecooked meal, a night out, and more. Or follow Nicole Davis, a woman who's fighting cancer and is profiled in August's What Happened to Abbey's Mom? as she blogs on 5280.com.
The thought of getting breast cancer is scary—especially given my family history—but knowing that I can decrease my chances of developing this disease gives me some sense of control and power. And arming myself with information now will help me in the future should I get diagnosed. So spread the word this month—pink paraphernalia and all.
—Image courtesy of Sharon Arnoldi Photography