This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Bring Your Brave campaign for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
I remember the phone call like it was last night. I was pregnant with my first child, only a few months away from her birth when one of my best friends called and said she had something to tell me. She’d been diagnosed with breast cancer, at age 27. I literally felt my heart drop in my chest. Actually, typing those words made my heart do the same thing again just now. She was young, so very young. She was going to school for her masters degree, had met the love of her life, and had her whole life ahead of her still. We’d been friends for half of our life at that point and while she was living several states away she was still a huge part of my life…she’d just been a bridesmaid in my wedding a short 8 months earlier. How could this be happening? To her? At 27 years old?
Breast Cancer Does Not Discriminate
Breast Cancer Does Not Discriminate. It doesn’t care what your race is, what your family history is, or how old you are. It simply leaves no one immune from its path. But somem women are more at risk than others. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we want to take this time to remind you to Bring Your Brave now and always. Bring Your Brave was launched in 2015 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is its first breast cancer campaign specific to young women. Bring Your Brave aims to inspire young women to learn their risk for breast cancer, talk with their health care provider about their risk, and live a breast healthy lifestyle. If my friend had not learned about her risk for breast cancer at a very young age things would have more than likely turned out much different than they did. She earned that master’s degree while battling breast cancer, married the love of her life, and now has two beautiful children and a wonderful job teaching. She still lives states away and I still thank my stars for our past and that we have a future. Another dear friend and inspiring woman was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 30’s 2 years ago this month. She could have ignored the lump she found but didn’t and is here today because she didn’t. Both of these women could have had very different outcomes if they were not proactive about their health, the story could have been different and for so many women it doesn’t turn out this way. Bring Your Brave was launched in 2015 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is its first breast cancer campaign specific to young women. Bring Your Brave aims to inspire young women to learn their risk for breast cancer, talk with their health care provider about their risk, and live a breast healthy lifestyle. The campaign tells real stories about young women whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. These stories about prevention, exploring personal and family history, risk, and talking with health care providers bring to life the idea that young women can be personally affected by breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States and 11% of all cases of breast cancer in the United States affect women under the age of 45, however, many young women do not know they are at risk. Many people don’t realize how young women can be affected. Young women face a unique threat – when they are diagnosed with breast cancer it is:
- More likely to be hereditary
- More often diagnosed at a later stage, and often
- More aggressive and difficult to treat
Woman can benefit from learning the risk factors for breast cancer. In addition to the risk factors all women face, some risk factors put young women at a higher risk for getting breast cancer at a young age. If you are under the age of 45, you may have a higher risk for breast cancer if –
- You have close relatives who were diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 45 or ovarian cancer at any age, especially if more than one relative was diagnosed or if a male relative had breast cancer
- You have changes in certain breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2), or have close relatives with these changes, but have not been tested yourself
- You have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage
- You received radiation therapy to the breast or chest during childhood or early adulthood
- You have had breast cancer or certain other breast health problems, such as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), atypical ductal hyperplasia, or atypical lobular hyperplasia
- You have been told that you have dense breasts on a mammogram.
The CDC encourages women to take three important steps to understand their breast cancer risk:
- Know how your breasts normally look and feel and talk to your doctor if you notice anything unusual
- Talk to your relatives about your family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Use CDC’s worksheet as a guide for your conversation. https://www.knowbrca.org/downloads/FCHWorksheet.pdf
- Talk to your doctor about your risk.
Bring Your Brave wants to know, What inspired you to learn your breast cancer risk? We want to hear empowering conversations about the risk of breast cancer in young women. Tell us why using the hashtag #BraveBecause. You can see photos and read women’s stories who were brave and faced their risk.