October is recognized nationally as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, most Americans are already aware of this because they have a mother, sister, aunt or friend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, or they themselves may even have a personal experience with this terrible chronic disease. It is the second leading cause of death among women, taking the lives of 500,000 women last year. To put it in perspective, one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime.
These statistics are scary, but no one is throwing in the towel. The nation continues to rally together to spread the word about the signs and risks, as doctors and researchers continue to search for a cure. Even politicians and celebrities get involved. The White House glowed pink on October 1st, to show support. First Lady Melania Trump tweeted, “In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month we lit the @WhiteHouse pink!”
The Redskins played the San Francisco 49ers on October 15th in their Breast Cancer Awareness Game presented by the Inova Schar Cancer Institute. The game featured special branding, and fans waved pink “TACKLE CANCER” rally towels in the air. Also, net proceeds from their limited-edition Redskins Fight Breast Cancer T-shirts will benefit the Brem Foundation, which is dedicated to educating women about risk factors and screening options and providing access to critical diagnostic tests for uninsured women. These are just two examples of public figures stepping up to show support, not to mention the numerous organized races that raise millions of dollars towards breast cancer research and education like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
So what are we doing here at PayLease? Every year in both our Chicago and San Diego offices we kick-off Breast Cancer Awareness month with a “Pink Day” at the beginning of October. PayLeasers are encouraged to wear as much pink as they can (including their pink PayLease socks), and enjoy pink cupcakes and treats.
PayLease Pink Day also marks the first day of our Annual Walking Challenge that lasts the entire month of October. Those who chose to participate sync their fitness tracker with our Challenge Runner event. The Challenge ended today, October 30th, and the winners will be announced tomorrow on Halloween! As a team, our total goal was 5 million steps. PayLease promised to donate to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade if we reached our goal… and we blew it out of the water! Our two offices combined walked a total of almost 12 million steps!
Needless to say, we will be donating to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which launched in 1992, and over the last 25 years has donated more than $800 million dollars to breast cancer causes, has educated over 180 million women about this disease, and has funded breast health screenings for nearly 20 million women. The 2017 Avon Breast Cancer Promise is a commitment to helping every woman know the risks, the signs, and how to take action against this disease.
In honor of their goal of educating women, here are a few tidbits of information from nationalbreastcancer.org that you should take a moment to read:
- Exercise boosts the immune system, so even as little as three hours of exercise per week (about 30 minutes per day) can begin to lower the risk of breast cancer. This doesn’t require going to a gym either; power walking is more than sufficient!
- A nutritious, low-fat diet (30 grams or less) with plenty of fruits and green and orange vegetables can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. A high-fat diet increases the risk because fat triggers estrogen production that can fuel tumor growth.
- Smoking is a contributing risk factor for developing breast cancer. Additionally, second hand smoke is also a risk factor for cancer. So if you are a smoker, help yourself in a significant way and join a smoking cessation program to help you stop. The day you stop smoking the healing can begin and each week in which you are smoke-free, you give yourself increasing advantages for a healthier life.
- Most importantly, give yourself a breast self-exam once a month! Look for any changes in breast tissue, such as changes in size, feeling a palpable lump, dimpling or puckering of the breast, inversion of the nipple, redness or scaliness of the breast skin, redness or scaliness of the nipple/areola area, or discharge of secretions from the nipple. If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or any changes, it is very important that you see a physician immediately. Women should perform their breast self exam 7-10 days after their menstrual period starts which is also when their breasts are the least tender and lumpy. If they are no longer menstruating, then she should select the same day of the month (first of the month for example) and mark it on the calendar to remind herself when to perform this self exam. What to look for is a change from last month’s exam to this month’s exam. If any unusual symptoms or changes in your breasts occur before your annual physical, do not hesitate to see the doctor immediately.
We urge you to continue to educate yourself, and the women in your life about the risks and the signs of Breast Cancer before it has the chance to affect you or someone you love! PayLease wishes you a happy, healthy Breast Cancer Awareness month!