Welcome to October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a means of honoring and supporting this worthy cause, MagicLinks is highlighting the Keep A Breast Foundation™, a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower young people around the world with breast health education and support. Constantly pushing the boundaries of the pink ribbon status quo, Keep A Breast has always encouraged young people to love their boobies, get to know their bodies and be aware of changes. Sounds like an important mission to us.
We caught up with KAB’s innovative founder, Shaney Jo Darden, a leading voice in the cultural conversation about breast cancer, to talk awareness, prevention and all things boobies. Shaney Jo’s visionary youth-targeted campaigns and programs featuring irreverent messaging, inventive art, cutting-edge pop culture and technology are fueling a paradigm shift among non-profit organizations.
Q: Shaney Jo, a lot of our readers live and breathe technology. How can they use tech to better look after their breast health?
A: We so get that. While disconnecting occasionally is an important part of a balanced lifestyle, most of KAB’s core demo experiences their lives through their phones. So we created the Check Yourself program, encouraging young people across the world to adopt a monthly self-check routine with the help of an easy-to-use app. Participants can then help spread the word about the importance of early breast cancer detection via social media by posting a clothed photo of themselves, placing three fingers to their breast with the hashtag #CheckYourSelfie. Share the love!
Q: Okay, got it! Why are breast self checks so important? Is there an ideal time of the month to do it?
A: Today, 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime and only 1 in 10 women who have breast cancer have a genetic history of the disease. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes. Those are some pretty intimidating stats. But we aren’t sitting ducks. There are so many actions we can take to take care of ourselves.
First and foremost: knowing your own body, being empowered to know your own “normal” is the best way to get an early detection if something’s funky. If you know your baseline, then you’re more likely to recognize something abnormal, and to act on that. We recommend doing the exam once a month at the end of your menstrual cycle.
Q: Right on. So, how do we get involved? What are best next steps for interested YouTubers?
A: Great! To learn how to pledge to do a self-check, download the free app, and/or sign-up for monthly reminders, visit http://checkyourselfie.org. Share your experience with your audience, invite them to do the same. And check us out, give us a follow, become part of the movement. You can find us here…
· Website: facebook.com/keepabreast
· Twitter: @keepabreast
· Instagram: @keepabreast
Q: Thank you! We’re downloading that app right now and will urge the women in our lives to do so, as well. Now that we’re vigilant and aware, anything else we can do to prevent breast cancer?
A: Absolutely. Here some helpful, attainable tips to factor into your daily decision making…
A good place to start: don’t smoke. It’s not just related to lung cancer. Women who either smoke or inhale passive smoke may have as much as a 60% increased risk of breast cancer.
Get a sweat on. Just 30 minutes of aerobic activity 3-5 times a week can lower the risk of breast cancer by 30 to 50%.
Check your labels! Watch out for products, including make-up and cosmetics, which have toxic ingredients linked to cancer:
· And so many more! EEEK!
Watch that diet. Avoid artificial sweeteners and processed foods and keep to a high-fiber, low-fat diet — and eat less red meat. Women who eat the most red meat have an 88 to 330 percent higher risk of breast cancer.