as i'm sure you're aware, i'm walking in this year's susan g. komen 3day walk for the cure. after months of training and fundraising (link to N's page; he's still short), the walk is exactly one week away. i'm getting very nervous. plus they just gave us the walk schedule (~21mi friday, 23mi saturday and ~16mi sunday), which didn't help. i think i'll be ok on day one, but i'll naturally be super exhausted afterwards. so i may not make it all the way through saturday :-/ that won't stop me from trying though. i've worked hard to get to this point because this cause means so much to me. i'm lucky to not have anyone in my family battling breast cancer, even though cancer, in general, runs in my family. N has had a couple people in his family diagnosed, which is really how i became involved in the first place. over the course of my training, i learned of four other women who had been diagnosed. i'll be writing about them next week. for now i want to focus on what we know about breast cancer and how you can help...
things i'm sure you've heard before:
- in the US, one person is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes
- over a lifetime, women have a one in eight chance of getting breast cancer. chances increase (one in 2000 for 20somethings to one in 26 for 60somethings) as one ages
- white women are at an increased risk for developing cancer. however, black women are more likely to die from it
- factors we always hear about that increase risk: obesity, alchohol consumption, family history
- factors that can decrease risk: physical activity and having babies before 30
almost a year ago, i joined the army of women, which matches participants up with breast cancer research studies. their goal is to build a network of one million men (yes, men) and women to support this research. from their website:
"The Army of Women campaign is an online initiative, where women can sign up at www.armyofwomen.org. The members are then contacted via E-blast to participate in groundbreaking, breast cancer prevention research studies. They can either sign-up for the studies online, or if they do not qualify, they are encouraged to forward the information to a friend or family member. Every woman over 18 is welcome to participate, whether a breast cancer survivor or someone never affected. In many breast cancer research studies, recruiting women is the biggest obstacle, and our innovative program is working to virtually eliminate this hurdle."
other points to note:
- signing up with the army of women does not enroll you in any studies. you are only added to their contact databasei've only been able to participate in two studies based on my age, location and diagnosis status. however, i make it a point to forward emails to those in my network of friends who may qualify. i also retweet every new study they announce in hopes that the right people can be matched up using the magic of the internets. because the more we know, the better we can fight. the more quickly we can determine a cause. and the more easily we can find a cure
- research studies are focused on prevention, not clinical trials for treatment
- any person of any race or ethnicity over the age of 18 can sign up
- signing up for the army of women has no associated costs, and study participation is always voluntary. depending on study locations, there can be travel costs should you choose to participate in specific research
- the studies have various requirements for participation and methods of information collection. you can review some of the current studies here to get a better idea of what's involved
other ways you can help: donate to a local or national organization that supports breast cancer survivors, research or treatment; participate in a breast cancer walk or run; buy pink ribbon products; educate others on risks and prevention. we can beat cancer, but we all have to work together to do it