Spending for a cure

Tanya Lagatella

Half of all women will find at least one non-cancerous lump in their breasts from harmless fluid filled crystals called fibroadenomes before age 50.

Doctors recommend that women in their twenties and thirties receive annual clinical exams and regularly perform annual self breast exams to detect lumps or bumps that may be cancerous since Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in women.

October was National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Women of all ages can contract the illness, everyone should be informed about breast cancer risk, prevention, detection, and survival.

Two million women are currently living with breast cancer in the United States and an estimated 211 – 240 women will be diagnosed this year.

Breast Cancer is a slow developing malignant, cancerous tumor that starts from cells of the breast. A woman’s breast is made up of glands that make breast milk (lobules) and ducts (small tubes that connect lobules to the nipple), fatty and connective tissue, blood vessels, and lymph vessels. Typically, breast cancer begins in the ducts and rests in other tissue.

Microscopic changes occur 10 to 15 years before cancer is found. Exercise and eating a variety of natural foods can delay life threatening changes even in high risk women.

A study at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center showed that women who walk briskly for two hours each week reduce their risk of breast cancer by 18 percent. Eating a natural diet also decreases the risk of developing cancer.

Statistics show that women who gain more than 20 pounds in their childbearing years are 40 percent more likely to develop breast cancer after menopause.

Good lifestyle choices and healthy eating habits combined with exercise and the avoidance of smoking and alcohol consumption can also be a means of prevention for high risk women.

Other risk factors include gender, age, race, and family history. According to the American Cancer Society, if your mother or sister had breast cancer your chances of getting the disease nearly double. Also, take into consideration your father’s side of the family and always share family history with your doctor who can suggest early screening procedures.

Doctors also recommend that women in their twenties and thirties perform breast self exams to learn what’s normal for them because younger women have denser breasts which can make it harder to see a lump on a mammogram.

Three characteristics signify a potentially dangerous lump: The lump is persistent, consistently in the same spot, and defined, meaning it has very distinct edges.

Women who perform BSEs regularly will know what is normal for them and if they detect an abnormality that doesn’t change in two weeks, they can contact their doctor and set up a clinical exam. A good breast exam covers the entire breast region which includes the nipples and underarms above the collar bone when you are sitting or lying down.

Some companies are making finding a cure for this illness a priority. They are partnering with hospitals and cancer research centers and donating profits to research, prevention, and care.

In 2003 Polo Ralph Lauren partnered with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in East Harlem’s North General Hospital, the nations leading cancer center, to create the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention. The center is dedicated to providing the highest quality of cancer screening, treatment, and education.

Pink Pony which is Lauren’s global philanthropic effort, donates ten percent of all proceeds to support programs for early diagnosis, education, treatment, and research to people in medically underdevolped communities.

Cosmetic companies in particular have developed products exclusively for women to support breast cancer research efforts. Avon cosmetics has been a long time advocate of breast cancer research and awareness through the promotion of the breast cancer crusade bear, which is a brown bear who wears a pink sweater and ribbon, and the walk around the world breast cancer pin.

Revlon has developed “Kisses for the Cure” a series of limited edition lip products that include their Super Lustrous lipstick and gloss. One dollar from each sale is donated to the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund.

Yoplait Yogurt is also getting in on the project with their “Save Lids Save Lives” campaign which allows consumers of the yogurt to mail back lids by December 31, 2005. A donation of 10 cents is made for every lid with a maximum donation of $1.5 million and a minimum of $500,000 total.

Pink bracelets, similar to the yellow LIVESTRONG version can be purchased in packs of five for $5 from www.breastcancer.org.

Top Ten Purchases You Can Make To Help Find A Cure

1. Pink Pony by Polo Ralph Lauren donates 10% visit www.polo.com
2. Avon Walk Around the World Pin $3 visit www.avon.com
3. Avon Breast Cancer Crusade Bear $4 visit www.avon.com
4. Lenox bud vase $29.95 visit www.lenox.com
5. Estee Lauder Gloss in Evelyn Pink $20 www.esteelauder.com
6. Revlon “Kisses for the Cure” Lip Gloss donates $1.00
7. Jo Malone Red Roses Cologne $48 www.jomalone.co/uk
8. Stila Breast Cancer Awareness Pot Gloss $16 www.stilacosmetics.com
9. Yoplait Yogurt “Save Lids Save Lives” 10 cents per lid before December 31, 2005
10. Breast Cancer Awareness Bracelets 5 for $5 www.breastcancer.org

For more information about Breast Cancer and for other
companies who donate to the cause go to www.breastcancer.org.