~ A bit of joie de vivre, a comprehensive joy of life, with an occasional edge.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Those Are Beautiful Breasts!

Got your attention?
Good, because...

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month around the world.

Pink Ribbon CampaignBreast cancer is a serious issue, for all women are at risk for getting breast cancer. As you get older, your risk increases. Assuming you live to age 90, your risk of getting breast cancer over your lifetime is about 14%. That might sound scary, because it means that an average of about one out of every seven women will get breast cancer over a 90-year life span.

You can also look at it another way: A 14% risk means there's an 86% chance that you won't get breast cancer.

Why am I, as a man, posting this information? Simply put, because I care, and because I know first hand how breast cancer can effect a woman, both physically and emotionally.

This is serious enough that I'm sure the you get the point, so let's just lighten up for a bit. A couple of years ago, the Breast Cancer Society of Canada contracted Zig Inc. to come up with a way to convince young women to perform their own regular breast examination. They chose to use humor to reinforce self-testing as a 'normal' task that everyone does.

So the classic Cam’s Breast Exam public service announcement was born. The founding partners of Zig Inc, believed that women value offers of help when they feel overwhelmed and unable to help themselves. When they’re offered help for something they should be doing they protest and happily play their own part.

If you can't see the video above, click here for the alternate copy.

Cam, played by then 20-year-old Noah Plener, opens the 30-second spot speaking to the camera:

"Are you too busy to do your monthly breast self exam? Unsure of the right technique? The phone volunteers from Cam's Breast Exam are always eager to help!My name is Cam. I’d like to help. Let me examine your breasts for you, absolutely free! I’m highly trained and highly motivated so call the number on the number on the screen. Call takers are standing by."

The camera switches to three teenage boys sitting on a couch, phone ready.

Cam continues, "So put your breasts in my hands. Let Cam do your breast exam."

The PSA concludes with "They’re your breasts. You do it. Examine yourself monthly."

And that's the point: you need to do the exam, and don't put it off, as it's more important that you may realize. As I said before, I care, and I know first hand how breast cancer can effect a woman, both physically and emotionally. I also know what can happen if you put it off, and don't start with that self-exam. It becomes easy to forget, then to put off that critical mammogram, figuring that it won't happen to you, only to that 14%, right?

Let me be up front: Been there - done that. I lost someone to breast cancer, so I know. I know the alternatives, the treatment, and that in most cases it can be stopped if caught in the beginning.

According to the Young Survival Coalition (YSC), young women can and do get breast cancer. While breast cancer in young women accounts for a small percentage of all breast cancer cases, the impact of this disease is widespread: There are more than 250,000 women 40 and under in the U.S. living with breast cancer, and over 11,100 young women will be diagnosed in the next year. And these figures are just for the United States. The YSC is an international, non-profit network of breast cancer survivors and supporters dedicated to the concerns and issues that are unique to young women and breast cancer. It's a favorite of mine because they're so proactive, and offer some great free resources.

Another very proactive group worth noting is the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, whose mission is to ensure, through information, empowerment and peer support, that no one faces breast cancer alone. They offer such things as a 24-hour hotline, an amazing wig & prosthesis bank. And they offer their resources in English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean and Chinese. Because they're so uniquely proactive, this one is another favorite.

So I'm going to make this simple, from one human being who cares enough to post this, to any woman of any age who may be reading this. It's just a simple appeal: just do that Breast Self-Exam (BSE). It only takes a couple of minutes. And if you haven't had one in the last couple of years, please pick up the phone and try to schedule a mammogram. In some areas, they're free if you look around.

And here you can follow Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, Valient Thorr, and members of MxPx as they walk you through the steps of just how to do a breast self exam in this Warped Tour video from Keep-A-Breast.org, a unique non-profit organization that has been very proactive in increasing breast cancer awareness among young people.

Finally, there's a completely updated list of resources below that you can check out. This should be very global, but if you know of other such resources, please just add them in the comments or send me a message. 


Please feel free to comment... and don't forget that BSE!

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