We’re here today to talk about something VERY important. Breast Cancer. But more importantly the lack of access the BIPOC community has to healthcare, screenings & education.
The Keep A Breast Foundation is a global, non profit organization that helps raise breast cancer awareness through prevention & early detection. Keep A Breast now has something called the Give Back Grant which provides BIPOC grantees money to help with recovery costs like massage therapy, groceries, rent, etc. This is such a good cause & a great foundation to donate to if you’re looking to do something like that this holiday season.
This shit is scary, BUT there are lots of things we can do to lower our risk, like we get into it. We actually had the founder on The Skinny Confidential HIM & HER podcast so make sure you listen. It’s all about how to check yourself at home, so it’s a must-listen for the whole TSC community.
Check Your Boobs & Give Back this Holiday Season
In this post you’ll also learn more about the Give Back Grant, the new Keep A Breast App, & like I said, lot’s of tips for reducing your risk of breast cancer. You’ll also see a few snaps of my jugs when Shaney Jo came over to cast them! That’s right. My boobs were cast & sent to auction. It was such a fun experience. Anyway…
Let’s get right into it & welcome Shaney Jo Darden of Keep a Breast to the blog.
Boobs are a big deal around here. The same can be said for the Keep A Breast Foundation, a 501 (c)3 nonprofit that has made its mission to reduce breast cancer risk & its impact globally through art education, prevention & action since it was founded in 2000.
What began as a way to support a good friend fighting this illness with a breast cast art show for donations ( you’ll remember when co-founder Shaney Jo casted my boobs for a great cause! ), Keep A Breast has grown to develop programming that educates the new generation about healthy boobs & how to show yourself love with a monthly breast self check.
The easiest way to check your boobs?
With the (free!) Keep A Breast App, which is also available in Spanish & French! Ooh la la.
It’s a fact that when you’re facing it as a “do I have cancer?” mindset, it can be pretty scary. That’s why Keep A Breast takes a different approach with cute animated gifs that show you exactly how to touch your boobies to find your normal each month, & encourages you to do your self check from a place of self love.
Here are some more reasons why you must download the app!
♡ The Keep A Breast app provides you with the ability to connect directly with telehealth medical professionals if you do find something outside your normal. That means direct, instantaneous support when you’re going through a scary moment!
♡ It’s super easy to spread the love for breast health with anyone in your life. The app allows you to share it through Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Text, & email. Spread the word to friends, co-workers, family members, neighbors, & anyone you want to help embrace healthy breast habits.
♡ Learn from survivors: the app includes stories from strong women who share their stories about everything. From finding their lump in the shower to a survivor who was told twice that it wasn’t cancer.
♡ It provides breast health resources & information. Whether you need tips for your next doctor’s appointment or want to know where to find a clinic near you, the app is loaded with resources to help you navigate your breast health journey with confidence.
♡ Review your past abnormal self checks with saved journal entries! If you found something outside the normal, it’ll be saved for you to easily reference whenever you need to, like at an appointment.
Lots of things have happened for Keep A Breast this year, including successfully relaunching the app in Spanish & completing the second cycle of their newest program, the Give Back Grant, which provides financial support to BIPOC women survivors or women who have received a breast cancer diagnosis.
The Give Back Grant is made possible with generous financial assistance from Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation, which has allowed Keep A Breast to expand the number of BIPOC women who receive these grants during one of the most difficult times of their lives.
The fact is that different communities are disproportionately impacted by breast cancer & other diseases in different ways.
It’s a lack of access to healthcare, screenings & education for example, that keep Black women in the U.S. at a higher mortality rate than white women.
Help support the Keep A Breast Give Back Grant this year with a donation this Giving Season & makee a difference in the lives of BIPOC women survivors & breast cancer patients.
Each grantee is awarded $500 for use on everything from medical treatment to alternative care including massage therapy, financial support including rent & groceries, investment in the grantee’s small business, & essential self care including a meditation retreat, spa day or vacation.
Lady to lady, we can make a difference! Support the Keep A Breast Give Back Grant today.
You might remember in Shaney Jo’s blog post a few years ago. She shared some of her tips for giving you the best chance, I mean BREAST chance ( LOL ) at lowering your risk of breast cancer. Because it’s so important to protect our tits, I wanted to share them with you again:
In order to know when something is wrong, you have to know how your body feels when it’s right. “Your normal”, as we like to call it. We encourage everyone to check their boobies monthly (guys too!) to know your normal. Young people can and do get breast cancer, so we encourage starting monthly self-checks as early as possible. No scary medical procedures, just getting to know your boobies and starting that positive relationship with them. Research shows that 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who discover their own lump. You can download our app to get a monthly reminder!
Eat Your Medicine
Diet is a big part of keeping your body healthy. There are many foods that naturally contain anti-carcinogens that fight cancer. By eating your medicine you can reduce your risk of cancer, while enjoying other benefits like maintaining a healthy weight, reducing your risk of heart disease and increased levels of energy. Food is fuel and nutrient rich food is medicine for your body. Women who eat a fiber-rich diet are 54 percent less likely to get breast cancer. Other foods to add to the menu are mushrooms, turmeric, cruciferous vegetables, chia seeds, garlic, blueberries, seaweed, and more!
Move Your Body
Some studies have shown that just 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week can lower your risk of breast cancer by 30-50 percent. Every fall, KAB has a campaign called Fit 4 Prevention with a goal to inspire people to reduce their risk of cancers by adopting a healthier, more active lifestyle, in a way that sparks their inner champion.
Exercise boosts your T-cells, which strengthen your immune system and help you fight cancer cells. Hiking and other exercise release adrenaline and endorphins, which can decrease tension, anxiety, and blood pressure levels. This can reduce risk of depression and will leave you feeling better physically and mentally, which will encourage you to continue your new healthy habits. Studies show that exercise during and after treatment benefits cancer survivors in several ways. Ranging from improved fitness and higher quality of life to reduced rates of recurrence and a longer life. Cancer patients who exercise may experience less nausea and less fatigue. If you’re coping with cancer or its aftermath, now is the time!
Please Drink Responsibly
No one likes to hear this, but unfortunately, drinking alcohol is a very big one. There are so many studies about the link between alcohol and an increase in cancer risk, breast cancer included. The overall conclusion is for women, having more than one alcoholic drink per day, does increase your risk for breast cancer.
Check Your Labels
Environmental factors contribute to 90% of breast cancer diagnosis. That includes the products we use in our bodies (and homes: see next section). The cosmetics industry is very loosely regulated and unfortunately, the ingredients they use are often not safe. Their claim is that their one product contains a “safe level” of harmful chemicals, but women use an average of 12 products daily, which equals an average of 168 chemicals we are exposing our body to daily. Men use less, but still expose their skin to 85 chemicals daily. When we use that many products that contain potential carcinogens, the levels of those chemicals pass the safety mark. Many chemicals used in personal care, such as parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, triclosan, and fragrance have been directly linked to many cancers.
Luckily, there are many great companies that produce non-toxic cosmetics, personal care, and cleaning products to keep our bodies free of as many toxins as we can control. Check out the Non Toxic Revolution Shop for toxin-free alternatives for your favorite products and download Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Living App to scan products in store so you can shop smart and non-toxic!
Be careful what you clean with
Unfortunately, when it comes to our homes, it isn’t always as easy as checking our labels. In most states, it is not required for companies to disclose the ingredients in cleaning products. “Even cleaning products advertised as ‘green’ or ‘natural’ may contain ingredients that can cause health problems. Manufacturers can use almost any ingredient they choose, including known carcinogens, and substances known to pose health or environmental hazards.”
Luckily, just last year, California passed the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act, requiring brands to be transparent with all of their ingredients! We hope that the rest of the country will follow-suit! Do your research, find non-toxic products from companies who already disclose their ingredients like Seventh Generation and Honest Company , or you could always make your own!
If you find yourself living a super fast-paced daily life, or you’re just an anxious person, remember to slow down for yourself and decompress for your health. Long-term stress can open the door for breast cancer by increasing blood flow to tumors, feeding hormones that encourage tumor growth, and keeping your body in a constant state of inflammation. A few great ways to de-stress are to make sure you get enough sleep, listen to your favorite music when you feel stress coming on, meditate, practice digital detoxes daily, visualize a less stressful situation to trigger relaxation, and hang out with your friends. Find a de-stressor that works for you, and practice it regularly.
Keep your phone at a distance, literally
While there isn’t any hard science on this, there have been studies conducted regarding the impact of cell phone radiation on things like sperm count, and more so, brain cancer. Why is this a concern? One of the reasons is because the FCC hasn’t updated their cell phone radiation standards since 2000. Cell phone culture has drastically changed in the past 18 years, and the radiation standards should reflect that. However, that currently is not the case, so we simply do not know what the potential effects are.
One of the biggest tips for limiting your exposure to cell phone radiation is to keep your phone at a distance. Basically what we’re getting at is: stop keeping your phone in your bra! We aren’t making any hard or fast claims regarding breast health and phones here, but it’s something to think about. As the research progresses when discussing cell phone radiation, and the fact that we use our smartphones pretty much constantly and for everything, we urge you to keep that radiation away from your breasts, just in case.
Seriously, what’s better than nature? It does so much for us. Whether that means going for a nice walk at your local park, swimming in the ocean, going for a hike, or even camping, it’s so important to get out of the house!
Vitamin D is an incredibly important vitamin that we’re apparently all lacking in as no one goes outside anymore. Spend some time in the sun, letting your skin soak it in – just make sure you’re wearing non-toxic sunscreen when you do. Enjoy a mini digital detox, get away from indoor pollutants, exercise (of course). This will boost your mood and lower stress levels. So go on, get your ecotherapy on.
Bisphenol A (or as you see in Prop 65 Warnings: BPA) and Phthalates are toxins found in many plastics. Including food containers, packaging, and linings. Both are found to have links to breast cancer and a wealth of other health problems. BPA is what is known as an endocrine disruptor, meaning it mimics and interferes with your body’s natural hormone function.
Unfortunately, it is all too easy to come into toxins like these in our daily lives. Especially through the foods that we eat. Both of these (as well as other toxins found in plastics) can leach into the food or drinks they come in contact with, especially when heated.
So, avoid single-use plastic and BPA-lined containers whenever you can. We suggest buying in bulk or finding BPA-free cans, BYOB ( bring your own bag… and cup and container while you’re at it), never reuse single-use plastic – especially for food or drinks – and do not heat or microwave plastic containers. )
Explore all your Birth Control Options
A recent study suggests a correlation between taking hormonal birth control and a slight increase in breast cancer risk: the risks vary by years used, types of birth control, and the specific hormones.
This is a tricky one, as there is also a suggestion that hormonal birth control may contribute to a decrease in the risk of reproductive cancers such as ovarian cancer.
People take hormonal birth control for a wealth of reasons. We simply want to provide you with information that you may not have previously known. In order to best weigh the options that work for you. Possibly consider non-hormonal methods such as the copper IUD or condoms if it works for your needs and lifestyle.
Be Your Own Health Advocate
So much of prevention and early detection, but also our general health, is about knowing your body. By taking the time to care for yourself physically and mentally, whether that be the foods you eat, meditating, exercising, or doing your monthly self-check, you become more in tune with your body. No one knows your body like you do.
We strive to empower you with the information and tools you need to stand up for yourself – if the situation warrants it – as well as inspire you to seek out more health education. When it comes to your health: don’t be afraid to ask questions, or get second opinions. It’s your health and your body, and you have the right to all of the information and options out there!
PREVENTION IS KEY, GUYS. We all need to be checking ourselves on the reg.
So there you have it, tons of tips to lower your risk of breast cancer, all the details on Keep A Breast’s new app, AND an amazing foundation to donate to for the BIPOC community. Hope you loved this post & learned something too.
GTG feel myself up.
++ listen to Shaney Jo on the podcast.