This post was written in collaboration with Paul Mitchell - products in the post were kindly provided c/o of Salon Success.
"1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime—it’s the leading cancer diagnosis among women. 1 in 75 women will develop ovarian cancer in their lifetime, and 2/3 of those diagnosed will die from their disease." Bright Pink, link to stat here.
These facts are pretty scary. But associations like Bright Pink want to educate young women on the importance of prevention and early detection of signs of cancer. When it's caught early, the 5 year survival rate for breast and ovarian cancer can be greater than 92%. Want another interesting stat? 80% of breast cancers in young women are self discovered, and are only later confirmed by a medical professional. So let's get checking ladies!
Here are a few things you can do to help prevent and detect any signs of cancer early:
1. Ask your family about their medical history. Breast and ovarian cancer can be linked with families, and are associated with other cancers. Finding out from both of your parents if anyone has been diagnosed with cancer will help you when speaking to your doctor.
2. Assess your risk. Bright Pink created a tool which helps you assess your personal risk level for breast and ovarian cancers. This quick and easy self assessment tool asks you a number of questions following which it gives you a risk percentage, what your answers mean, and what you can do to change your life for the better. I took the test and came back with a 12% chance of developing breast cancer, and 1.3% chance of developing ovarian cancer. The risk on breast cancer is clear - some of my bad lifestyle habits and a lack of exercise; things that make it better is that I don't have history of cancer in my family. I'm now motivated to get to the gym, start a healthier lifestyle and reduce that risk! If you want to take the test, you can find it here.
3. If you haven't already, go and get your smear test done - ASAP. I know some women have reservations about it but trust me, 1 minute of slight discomfort can save your life. Do it, don't hesitate - it's way too important.
4. Feel yourself up. Checking for anything out of the ordinary - shape, size, colour, rash, itching or a lump (which feels a little like a frozen pea). If you notice something that's not quite right - make an appointment with your GP who will be able to examine you further. Of course, breasts change during certain times of the month so be mindful of your body when checking yourself out!
Following a set of simple steps that really don't take any time or effort when you think of your life as a bigger picture - can save your life.
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