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Breast Cancer Awareness and Research Month

October 26, 2012

October is the designated “Breast Cancer Awareness and Research” month across the country! Millions of men and women show their support by raising money, participating in sponsored marathons and walks. Celebrities speak about the cause and consumers are buying merchandise that donates a portion of their proceeds to a breast cancer research organization (that’s what the pink ribbon means on products).

In the spirit of promoting awareness, there are ways in each TJSL can be well informed of breast cancer and its ripple effects.

Early Detection is Key to Prevention

Women and men die each year from breast cancer. For the most part, early detection would have saved their lives. Even though it is 100 times less likely for a male to get breast cancer, precautionary measures should be taken by men to detect any possibility of it to occur. Women should check regularly for lumps and anything that “feels funny.” This could be a job for your significant other, as there is strong evidence demonstrating that another person who checks your breasts is more likely to find lumps or anything inconsistent with the texture of tissue.

The most common way of detecting possible lumps are via mammogram, a test  covered under insurance, so take the opportunity to check. A new innovative test that detects “hot spots” much earlier than mammograms is a thermography. This uses digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI) to find “hot spots” within the tissue of the breast, and can detect areas within the breast that could be cancerous years in the future. Thermography is approved by the FDA, but is not covered under most insurance policies. However, there are many who have been tested by thermography and having such early detection by years prior to a cancerous lump ever surfacing, and this test well worth the investment to them. Regardless of whichever method you use, it’s important to start today!

Where does Breast Cancer Come From?

Breast cancer has exponentially claimed lives recently, and it’s not a coincidence. Many daily products we use on our hands, faces, body and hair have carcinogenic ingredients in them. These ingredients significantly increase the production of estrogen in women’s bodies, which then can catalyze tissue cells’ growth and become cancerous. Common ingredients in lotions, moisturizers, soap, sunscreen, lip moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners, hair mouse, fragrances, deodorant and the like are parabens, ethylene oxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbens (PAHs), placental extract, lead and aluminum. So the next time you want to buy lotion or soap from your favorite store in the mall, make sure to look at the ingredients. Chances are, the more a company brags about how well their lotions or soaps moisturize your skin, the more likely it has one of these dangerous ingredients making your skin silky smooth.

The Funny Thing About Those Pink Ribbons

Many retail and product companies have jumped on the pink ribbon bandwagon and do donate a portion of their proceeds to some kind of breast cancer research and awareness fund, but the funny thing is that some of the products that consumers are buying from these companies have ingredients that can cause breast cancer. Remember the ingredients listed above? Those very  same ingredients are in the products that proudly display a pink ribbon on the labeling. These companies  are supporting the very organization that is trying to put them out of business (or at least eliminate those carcinogenic ingredients). But the only way those companies will change their ingredients to a healthy alternative is if consumers stop buying their products!

True Support

To truly combat this epidemic, volunteering for a breast cancer research center, participating in a sponsored marathon or walk, or just spreading the word about early detection will tremendously help. To donate money, the best method is to give  directly to the local breast cancer center, as they’re the ones that are putting millions of dollars toward innovations in preventing and slowing breast cancer. There is a breast cancer center unit in UC San Diego and there is a county hotline dedicated to answering questions about breast cancer and any related resources, the number is 2-1-1.

Resources To Consider

Here are a few resources providing detailed information on breast cancer, its causes and effects, and where to seek help: