Did you know that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer?
That statistic is terrifying to me. As we all know October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s hard to miss it since everyone is wearing pink including your favorite athletes, but what you might not realize is that there are actual steps you can take to help prevent cancer. I’m a big advocate for prevention and after spending time talking to some survivors you would be too.
When I started thinking about this post one person came to my mind, my friend Jess.
Jess is a mom of 3 babies, a wife, and the daughter of a breast cancer warrior..she’s also a huge advocate on prevention and why it’s so important. When I reached out to her I was so thrilled that she was excited to share her story with you and some of the steps she takes to prevent this disease. Here is a little bit about her and her story:
“I care passionately about breast cancer prevention because I have been on the before side of cancer as well as the after. In the before side of cancer you think it can’t happen to you or someone you love, you think it just happens to those other people but could never enter your circle your family. Then it does, and you want nothing more but to help get the word out that it can happen, you want everyone to know early detection is key, you want people to know everything they can so that they are ready and prepared and just maybe you’ll save someone’s life. When my friends mother pass away from breast cancer that made it even more real. Not long after my mom was diagnosed at the age of 38 I was 18 and about to start my first year in college I found a lump or so I thought at the time. I had a mammogram and since I was so dense they couldn’t see the images and immediately was taken in for an ultrasound where the doctor made me and and my mom feel awful. He told me I should know that what I was feeling was a lymph node that there’s nothing there in a very demeaning tone. I felt defeated and like I was wrong for asking questions. After babies i finally put my health first and went to breast center where I had my first risk assessment and it was determined that I am at High risk for breast cancer so I have MRI every year and next year will add mammogram to the screening as well. The hardest thing is watching my mom have bad days. Her bad days are few lately but I remember 2 years ago she had a very bad bad bout with a reaction to her meds once she recovered she told me she thought that that was going to be it for her. She told me that she thought she was going to die. Anything hard thing is seeing my best friend be a mother without her mother. My best friends mom passed away from breast cancer and it’s something I think of everyday how lucky I am to still have my mom with me and in my life. I wish I could tell women that it’s ok to ask questions to not let anyone keep you from getting answers. To get regular screenings to know what your breasts feel like. I also wish I would have started my steps sooner but I let the words of that doctor haunt me and prevent me from getting the help I needed. They say that if a woman has a close relative that has had breast cancer than they should start screening 10 years prior to the age of the relatives diagnosis. My reason for being so passionate is easy: my Husband, Tom, my kids Mason age 8, Maleah age 3, and Maddox age 2. They are what keeps me motivated to stay on top of the screening and testing. They need me around for years and years and I’m determined to not let the fear of knowing keep me from enjoying life. ” -Jessica Fox, 29. Breast Cancer Awareness AdvocateJess with her gorgeous mom whose breast cancer is still active but considered “stable”
As you all know Beautycounter is my favorite company in the world
and I wish I could shout it from the mountain tops! What they do it so amazing and this month they have partnered with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners to raise awareness of ways to prevent! That’s amazing! As you may or may not know the beauty industry is unregulated meaning companies can put all sorts of horrible chemicals in their products, including chemicals linked to cancer. The biggest culprits? Fragrance and parabens. Fragrance is projected as a trade mark so companies don’t even have to tell you the chemicals in it! That is insane! While I fight for stricter laws I also fight for transparency from companies. You should be able to see every ingredient in a product if you are putting it on your body.
Unlike Jess who has a family history of breast cancer, almost 85% of those diagnosed do not.
Yeah you read that right 85%. There are so many small steps you can do to help make sure you aren’t part of that 85%. Here is a list of 10 easy switches you can make for you and your family today. A lot of people assume the switch will cost you a lot of money but in reality you will save a lot and help protect your family. I’m two things: cheap and health conscience so I got you.
- Ditch your fragrance. This is ALWAYS my #1 to women who want to help rid chemicals from their lives. Fragrances are made from thousands of different chemicals and linked to all types of cancer. It’s also a huge trigger for asthma patients so you are effecting those people when you are in public. And please if you have a kid don’t wear this because you transfer it onto those sweet babies when you hold them. There are cleaner options out there to smell nice like essential oils. You can mix up your own blends or buy blends from companies like Ambre that are safe and still smell amazing! Trust me if I could ditch my Armani perfume so can’t you!
- Part from plastic and go to glass. Did you know that studies have shown that when you put your vegetable in the plastic bag at the store the chemicals leach into your produce by the time you get home? Kind of scary right? We no longer store our food in plastic Tupperware, drink from plastic bottles, or use plastic sandwich bags. It’s really insane when you did into the research and find these things out but again this is such a simple switch! We use glass storage containers & water bottles and unbleached parchment bags for sandwiches. We also use stainless steel bento boxes for packing out lunches. This article from Tree Hugger has great tips on how to freeze food without bleach. Oh by the way did I mention how much money you will save by this easy switch? A LOT!
- Ditch your nonstick cookware because eventually their coating breaks down and leaches the chemicals used to make into your good food. Guys I feel ya this was hard but so worth it in the long run! We moved from nonstick to a mix of stainless steel and Le Creuset cookware. I love to cook so I splurged and got a great set but you can find reasonably priced ones anywhere! Especially if you have a Costco by you.
- Buy (or grow!) fresh produce instead of buying canned. The same idea applies to this… the BPA and other chemicals in the cans leach into your good. No-one wants that! You’ll also save a TON of money by doing this! You can take the fresh produce and freeze it or can yourself in glass jars to save throughout the year. My oldest loves helping me can and freeze produce for the brutal winters here. Plus you will have fresh in season produce all year long.
- Find safer cleaners. I used to love bleach, like really really love it. Then once I started removing chemicals from my life I knew I had to let go. We now use safer cleaners in our house, like Seventh Generation. My house is still clean and germ free, it’s just now missing the catalog of chemicals that used to be all over my granite. We use Seventh Generation for everything from dishwasher tablets to toilet bowl cleaners but there are other options out there like Thieves Cleaner from Young Living or Onguard from Doterra.
- Say bye bye to plug ins. This fits in with the whole fragrance thing and something that has just gotta go! I used to have plug ins and then Noelle ate one when she was about 8 months old so I never bought them again. I was on the phone with poison control and she said that so many kids ingest these and that the chemical data sheet on them in insane. After that I just diffused oils to make my house smell nice.
- Invest in dryer balls. We started using wool dryer balls forever ago because we heat with wood and my house is a static haven in the winter and my dryer sheets weren’t cutting it. Turns out I made the right call because dryer sheets are one of the most toxic things in a house! The amount of chemicals used on these things is insane. Oh and again YOU SAVE MONEY. Hello that is reason enough for me. We also don’t use conventional laundry soap because that is a hot mess too. We use Mollys Suds and it works great and lasts forever.
- Remove parabens from your life. Did you know that parabens are commonly found in breast cancer tissue? Yep… 99% in fact. You can read about it here. Parabens are also in EVERYTHING. Your shampoo, your lotions, your body wash, the list is never ending. Start buying products that label that there are no parabens in them.
- Switch deodorant. Most deodorant contains aluminum which is linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s, which was initially what prompted to me remove it from my life after my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This one was a little tricky because we had a hard time finding one that worked for myself and my husband. We eventually found Native, after trying everything else, and were thrilled! It’s safe, you smell great, and it lasts.
- Safer Beauty. I have said it before and I’m going to keep saying it: a woman should never have to sacrifice her health for beauty and that is sadly what we have been forced to do for a long time. Luckily companies are starting to realize this and make much needed changes.
You can join this fight too.
The first step is to stop supporting companies that aren’t putting YOU and YOUR HEALTH first. That means say goodbye to your beauty products and switch to companies that are safer. You can also text “Betterbeauty” to 52886 to tell Congress that you want sticker laws and you mean business! If you really want to make an impact you can always join myself and Beautycounter on the mission to get safer products in the hands of everybody. I would love to talk to you about how this company have changed my life in every way, so feel free to always email me about this.