By Tori Carruth
Tori is currently a Senior at Sam Houston State University and a contributing editor of the iGoPink Blog.
- Breast Cancer does not discriminate. As a college student, term papers, socials, and the ever-growing number of e-mails in my inbox consume my thoughts. Our generation has the mentality that “it won’t happen to me,” but that’s naïve of us. A 22-year-old woman named Kayla Falcon was diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer last year. 22! Her main focus should have been on graduating college or landing her dream job, not on fighting for her life. No matter how young or old, it CAN happen to you.
- A healthy lifestyle can help. Eating well balanced and nutritious meals (you mean I can’t live off Cheetos?) and maintaining a healthy lifestyle (walking from my dorm to my car doesn’t count I suppose) could lower your risk of not only breast cancer, but other chronic diseases, too. Physical activity is actually shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer. So get on your bike instead of driving to campus and you have a great cardio session done, plus you don’t have to spend 30 minutes looking for a parking spot- SCORE!
- Environmental factors are real (my Health professors were right). I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve listened (i.e. pretended to listen, but actually Pinterested) to a lecture over “environmental factors.” I didn’t understand the significance until recently, though. A few environmental factors with consistent evidence showing a link with an increased risk of breast cancer are: the use of hormone therapies containing estrogen and progestin, exposure to ionizing radiation, being overweight, and drinking alcohol. So let’s break that down- birth control contains those estrogen hormones, and the ionizing radiation could be things like getting a CT scan. I don’t know about you, but I’m about to turn 21, and the risk of alcohol is a new (and scary) thing for me.
- Prevention saves lives! There are so many diseases that could be prevented if necessary steps were taken, and while breast cancer isn’t totally preventable, you can absolutely reduce your risk. While it seems odd to get a mammogram at the age of 21, it’s important to realize that according to the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Progress review group, around 70,000 people between the ages of 15 and 39 are diagnosed with cancer every year. Breast cancer accounts for about 15% of all diagnoses in that group- that’s over 10,000 YOUNG women with breast cancer. So go get yourself checked, girl! Even something as simple as a quick self-exam in the shower can save your life.
- A lump doesn’t always mean cancer. So let’s say while you were self-examining you found a lump. Your first thought is probably something along the lines of “OMG!OMG!OMG!,” or at least mine would be… But don’t freak out yet! This is definitely a good reason to visit your doctor, but 80% of lumps are benign, meaning they aren’t cancerous and are usually harmless. Keep checking yourself, but no panic attacks quite yet, y’all!