By Jennifer Thibault
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Everyone is seemingly wearing pink these days and not because it’s the new black. Probably the most prominent pink display is the National Football League players who are using pink sweat towels, donning pink gloves and hitting the field all in recognition of October as Breast Cancer Awareness month.
With roughly 200,000 Americans diagnosed with breast cancer each year, according to a popular medical website, the impact of this disease unfortunately has or will touch most at some point in their lives.
The good news is there are many societal shifts already in motion, especially on military installations, that can decrease one’s risk of being diagnosed with cancer.
“Eating a healthy diet and exercise play a big part in decreasing risk,” said Staff Sgt. Vanessa Arthur, noncommissioned officer in charge of Schriever’s Health and Wellness Center.
Which partners well with messages the center has already been sharing with base members. This month’s HAWC focus will specifically target how dietary changes and fitness can lead to a reduced risk of cancer.
“We are going to hold information tables outside the dining facility and during the Schriever Expo and Information Fair. Also during our cooking demo this month we will include items to help reduce cancer risk,” Arthur said.
This sentiment is echoed by the statistics. According to www.cancerproject.org, “35 to 50 percent of cancer diagnosis could have been prevented by making a few dietary changes.”
These changes include incorporating more dry beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy products into daily diets. Again, this is not news to anyone who’s heard or read a story on being healthy in the last ten years and something most are coming around to actually doing these days.
For breast cancer, there is more that people can do to protect themselves from this disease’s devastating effects and that is conducting monthly breast exams.
“Women should be doing monthly breast exams,” said Arthur, who added they will be handing out shower punch cards to help women perform the exam correctly as well as keep track of their exams. “We will also have a mock breast at our information booths to help people understand how a lump may feel so they know what to feel for during examinations.”
Often times, spouses or significant others will find the lump before the woman according to Arthur.
Regardless of who detects the lump, Arthur urges women to schedule an appointment with the doctor if they find a lump. “Better to be safe,” she said. “If women find anything different, they should write it down and keep track to see if it changes. This too can be shared with their doctor for early detection and prevention.”
Most breast cancer awareness tactics target women, however an increasing number of men are being diagnosed with breast cancer. While the numbers remain far below the women’s risk the precautions are the same. Healthy diet, active lifestyle and early detection and prevention measures are the key to reducing one’s risk.
These actions will also help those who have a greater risk of cancer due to hereditary reasons according to Arthur.
“You can still reduce your risk by improving your diet and increasing your physical activity,” she said.
The Schriever Expo & Info fair will be held Wednesday in the main fitness center. The cooking demo is set for Oct. 21 at the Tierra Vista Community Center at 1 p.m. For more information on the upcoming HAWC Breast Cancer Awareness month events, call 567-HAWC or 4292.