With October comes a host of seasonal sightings. But amid the pumpkins, leaves and scarecrows, October conjures another often overlooked sight on shop windows, bumper stickers, t-shirts and more: the pink ribbon. We all know the ribbon holds a powerful message for those impacted by breast cancer, but the rest of us may need reminding of its significance.
In 1985, the American Cancer Society dedicated the month of October to breast cancer awareness to encourage women across the country to get mammograms, the most effective tool against breast cancer to date. The good news is there are organizations in East Cobb keeping that sentiment alive today, one being CobbEMC’s Pink Power initiative.
“The Pink Power initiative is a lighthearted way to remind everyone about a serious issue,” said Kristen Delaney, Vice President of Marketing at CobbEMC. “We hope that when people see our flamingos, they remember to pick up the phone and make that appointment. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 85% of them will not have a family history of breast cancer. Get checked. This is too important. Early detection is key.”
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On average, one woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 14 seconds, making it the leading cause of cancer in women, and as of 2020, the most common cancer worldwide. Our need for more research and new treatments is eminent.
While these numbers are alarming, breast cancer cases have been steadily decreasing for over two decades, so we know our efforts are effective. As we continue the fight, there are a host of charities and nonprofits you can support this month.
National Breast Cancer Foundation
Susan G. Komen Foundation
Young Survival Coalition
Breast Cancer Research Foundation
American Cancer Society
The DONNA Foundation
Living Beyond Breast Cancer
The Link Between Cancer and Nutrition
Whether you or a loved one is currently fighting cancer, you’ve had cancer, or you simply want to make every effort to lower your risk of getting cancer, nutrition is one of the biggest natural weapons we have. According to osfhealthcare.org and sarahcannon.com, the following tips play a major role in cancer recovery and prevention.
1. Follow a plant-based diet if you can. It’s been found that fruits, leafy greens, legumes, nuts and seeds actively fight cancer. Phytochemicals, found in plants, are anti-inflammatory and disrupt cancer formation. Fiber, found in all of these foods, is linked to lower rates of breast cancer specifically.
2. Watch your protein intake, especially if you follow a plant-based diet. Protein is key to strengthening your body to withstand chemotherapy treatments and fight cancer. While there are plenty of plant-based proteins, working them into a diet can take a little intentionality. Lentils, nuts, seeds and Greek yogurt are all great options.
If you aren’t eating plant-based, you’ll have a much wider variety of protein to choose from, but poultry, fish and eggs (in addition to plant-based proteins) are some of the cleanest, making them ideal for fighting cancer.
3. Listen to your body when it comes to sugar. We’ve all heard it said that sugar feeds cancer cells, and while it’s true to an extent, our bodies still rely on natural sugars to power healthy cells. So while sugar intake should be limited, natural sugars, like those found in fruits and whole grains, will always be part of a healthy diet.
Not to mention, chemotherapy can cause cancer patients to lose their appetite, and eating enough is necessary to keep fighting. Sugars are often easier on the stomach, so if it comes down to carbs or nothing, choose carbs!
*Remember, only you and your doctor know your medical situation. Make sure to talk with them before making any drastic changes to your diet.
Who should get checked? At age 40, women should start talking with their doctor about their risk of breast cancer and need for screening. By age 50, all women should get screened every one to two years.