Reducing Your Breast Cancer Risk

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program.


One of the scariest things a person, and their family, can face is cancer.  Being that it’s October as I write this, I’d like to bring your attention to breast cancer specifically.  It’s not about wearing a certain color, pinning a ribbon on your jacket, sticking a decal on your car’s rear window, or donating your hair to a reputable organization.  Sure, all of those things are nice and hopefully, the proceeds reach someone needing them or the gestures are heartfelt.

However, taking steps to reduce your breast cancer risk is even more important and long-lasting.  It’s especially helpful if you can form a buddy system of sorts.  Perhaps with your best friend, cousin, sister, mother or daughter.

Check out the following infographic for some helpful and fairly easy tips:

Scientists, physicians, and community partners in the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP), which is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), study the effects of environmental exposures on breast cancer risk later in life. They created a mother-daughter toolkit (http://bit.ly/BCERPtoolkit) mothers can use to talk to daughters about steps to take together to reduce risk.

I will never forget, over 6 years ago, when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer.  When she had gone in for her annual mammogram, I just had this eerie feeling.  Call it a premonition or a blessing in disguise as far as preparing yourself for the horrific news (which you’re never really ready or wanting to hear), but I could just feel it.  There was not a dry eye in the room when she told us.

As a matter of fact, just hearing the news makes you want to throw up.  Here we were, my in-laws, husband, and myself; with our 2 babies in a nearby room; no known cancer in our bodies, and we couldn’t hold it together.  It would be a long road for her, as well as us and those closest to her.

There were many, many moments where we drew strength from her.  A particular family member even told me not to cry in front of her.  I never understood her (this family member) because how do you not cry about someone you love?  I feel like tears can be little drops of love coming from your eyes.  No one should tell you how to feel your feelings.  Remember that…

She soon underwent a double mastectomy, more so as a precaution for various reasons, one being her choice of not wanting to potentially have the other breast removed later, should cancer rear its ugly head again. Breast cancer was later found in the lymph nodes removed during surgery.  She had to undergo chemotherapy, radiation, the whole nine.  She lost her hair, gained a whole bunch of strength, found out who is really there for her, and, I believe, learned a lot about herself and life, as anyone would in such an unfortunate situation.

She jokingly told me she was still going to be here to give me a hard time.  Darn it all, she wasn’t lying!

All silliness aside, I am pleased and so thankful to tell you she is still here on Earth with us, in remission (cancer-free) for the last 5+ years, I might add.  I don’t have a typical relationship with my mother-in-law.  It’s never really been the kind you hear people complaining about or things of that nature.  I think that’s why I told you hearing the news makes you want to throw up and that there were no dry eyes in the room when we learned of her potential fate.

She is truly one of the strongest, most beautiful women I am blessed to know and call family. I’m going to confidently say she and I need a new picture together.  This is the most recent one with only the two of us in it, not including family photos.  It’s from the spring/summer of 2015!! New goal: photo together!

Honestly, even with a strong history of cancer on her side of the family, we credit early detection and amazing treatment as to why or how she is still here with us today.  With all of that said, I invite you to please take this survey.  It helps with the important work the researchers are doing: https://gmuchss.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_7TEuYTJvnIKzprv

Thank you for your interest and for reading my family’s story.

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