It’s October – Breast Cancer Awareness month, the theme of my blog for the next four weeks. This week, I’m sharing the first lesson I learned as a survivor of the disease. But first, here’s a little about my personal breast cancer story.
As a survivor, this month is always bitter-sweet for me. It’s a reminder of the darkest time in my life. Yet, it elicits true gratitude for the blessing of survival and the people who carried me through it. Every October, my instincts are to remember and be grateful in the same way I fought breast cancer – privately. But, I think most survivors feel as I do, that we have an obligation – to our sisters who are no longer here to speak to it and those who do not yet know they too will fight it – to be leading voices in honoring, supporting, educating, encouraging and fighting breast cancer.
As a fitness professional, there’s an added responsibility to speak to the importance of regular screening for breast cancer specifically and all health screening generally. Taken together, there’s no escaping the necessity for me to merge my personal breast cancer experience with my fitness expertise to share with you what I’ve learned.
NO ONE IS IMMUNE
The majority of breast cancer cases cannot be attributed to genes, family history or lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity and alcohol or drug abuse. That was true for me. I had zero breast cancer risk factors. I was exercising regularly and eating a balanced healthy diet. But I got it at the age of 43 anyway. My doctors and I have no idea why I got breast cancer. I’ll likely never know.
Lesson #1: Never put off screening because you’re fit or considered low risk.
Check back next week to learn the second lesson I learned. Support the cause by clicking here to donate to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.