As you start this Memorial Day weekend, take stock in all you are and have. Here are ten easy things you can do -- starting today -- to fight breast cancer:
1) Do everything in your power to stay physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy.
2) Know your own risk factors and move proactively to combat them.
3) Understand that "breast cancer" is not a single disease but many. There are various types, characteristics and qualities.
4) Remember that the majority of women are living well five, ten, twenty, thirty years after their original diagnosis. You'll know you're cured, my oncologist told me, when you die of something else.
5) Participate in research that advances understanding and origins of the disease. Pioneering surgeon Dr. Susan Love's group, Army of Women -- www.armyofwomen.org -- is currently seeking volunteers for studies that require very little of your time. Please visit www.armyofwomen.org and sign on.
6) Another study the Sister Study, is now underway. Enrollment closed in March, but this will be a landmark investigation. To date it is the ONLY long-term study of women 35-74 who have not had breast cancer but have a biological sister who has. I am proud to tell you that my sister Megan, is a participant. We both hope this effort will help pinpoint what (and if) environmental factors may contribute to the disease.
7) You can eliminate a fear of cancer by taking action; even something as simple as participating in a walk or run for Race for the Cure.
8) Mom was right on the fruit and vegetables. Enjoy them! Your Mom may have missed the boat on processed foods -- but you don't have to. Evidence also points to the importance of Vitamin D in healthy cell functioning. If you skip dairy, please ask your doctor or a nutritionist what the best supplement for you might be.
9) Visualize what this world would be like without cancer. Wow. Let's use that hope to continue our advocacy.
10) Breasts aren't everything. Life is.
Enjoy your weekend. LiveStrong!