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cancer prevention

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#BCAM, Assess Your Risk, Prevention, ZTA

Think Pink and Practice Prevention

Bright Pink partners with Zeta Tau Alpha to promote prevention on campus and in communities.

You’ve probably seen the statistic 1 in 8. That’s the average woman’s risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime, about 12%. But did you know that not every woman is at “average” risk of developing this disease? 

There are many factors that impact your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, including your personal and family health history. From your lifestyle, to grandma’s health, to the age you started your period – it all affects your risk level. Women who have a family history of cancer or a genetic mutation in the BRCA genes may have as high as a 70% chance of developing cancer. That’s a lot different than 12%!

No matter your risk level, you can take your health into your own hands and reduce your risk. Knowing your risk level allows you to determine what actions you should take. That could be as simple as making sure you break a sweat five times a week or as involved as talking to your doctor about increasing your regular screening.

When you know your cancer risk, you can take action to reduce it – and perhaps prevent a diagnosis altogether. That’s why Bright Pink developed the Bright Lite in collaboration with Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA)–a women’s fraternity dedicated to fighting breast cancer. Through a 3-year partnership, Bright Pink and ZTA have helped to educate over 35,000 young women across the country on breast and ovarian cancer prevention. This year, we aim to build on ZTA’s longstanding commitment to breast cancer awareness by showing how individual action can influence entire communities. 

The Bright Lite is a bite-sized online educational workshop that equips viewers with the breast and ovarian health knowledge they need to be proactive. Bright Lite breaks down why it is so important to know your breast and ovarian cancer risk, what factors can increase or reduce your risk, and how you can determine your personal cancer risk. It also teaches you handy habits you can start now to reduce your risk of cancer throughout your life. Most importantly, the Bright Lite directly links viewers to assessyourrisk.org/zta where ZTA chapter members, alumnae, and YOU can take 5 minutes to learn about your personal risk.

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Bright Pink is excited to share this essential knowledge with ZTA and continue working with its members to raise mass awareness about the importance of knowing and acting on your personal risk. What better way to fight breast cancer than preventing it in the first place? The preventive, pink future looks bright!

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#BCAM, Assess Your Risk, Early Detection, Hey Sis

Dr. Wendy McDonald: Live That Prevention Life

Prevention Tips & How Early Detection Can Increase Your Odds of Survival

Knowledge is power. Every year for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, folks across the country take part in essential conversations about protecting our health and happiness. Through these conversations, they start to build self-knowledge—and this year, Bright Pink wants to take awareness to the next level.

This year, Bright Pink is all about Breast Cancer ACTION Month. Turn to Bright Pink throughout October to access the tools you need to be all about it, too.

To get started, all-star OB/GYN and blogger Dr. Wendy McDonald, aka Dr. Every Woman, breaks down how to turn self-awareness into cancer prevention, in plain language that everyone can understand. 

Check it out, and get your questions answered. And make sure to read all the way to the end to see the next step to protect your bright future during Breast Cancer Awareness &  ACTION Month! And, stop by Bright Pink’s Facebook page to watch our Facebook Live with Dr. Wendy.

How Early Detection Can Protect You from Breast Cancer

Dr. Wendy: First, we need to review what early detection means. 

Stage 0 and Stage 1: Both Stage 0 and Stage 1 breast cancer have over a 99% 5-year survival rate.  That means that in the 5 years after diagnosis, 99% of people will still be alive. 

Stage 2: Now, in Stage 2, the breast cancer has either spread to the lymph nodes or is significantly larger. The 5-year survival rate for Stage 2 is 93%.

Stage 3: In Stage 3, the cancer is even larger or has spread to many lymph nodes. Now the 5-year survival rate has dropped to around 85%. 

This is why early detection is so extremely important. The earlier you detect a cancer, the more likely you are to beat it. 

So many people don’t want to find out that they have cancer because they think that it is a death sentence. Instead, they should think of early breast cancer detection as a new lease on life, an opportunity to beat cancer because it was caught early. That should be a thing. 

Tools to Prepare Yourself for Early Detection & Cancer Prevention
Dr. Wendy: Personal risk assessment are a great place to start! Risk assessments analyze information that you provide to predict your personal risk of breast cancer. These tools are extremely useful in identifying whether or not you need additional screening and testing above what is recommended for the average woman .

If you know that your first- or second-degree family member(s) had a certain type of cancer, you will be more prepared to screen and catch any abnormalities. Remember that the earlier you detect breast cancer, the more likely you are to survive and fight back.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re encouraging all women to #AssessThenAct: take the Assess Your Risk quiz, and then create a preventive action plan with your personalized results. It only takes 5 minutes!

Take Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk Quiz

Important Next Steps After Completing a Personal Risk Assessment
Dr. Wendy: Have a conversation with your doctor or healthcare provider. If your risk is elevated especially, further or different screening should be initiated.

Common Breast Cancer Risk Factors to Watch For, Especially in African American Women

Dr. Wendy: Research has shown that black women have significantly denser breast that caucasian women. Breast density refers to the amount of fibroglandular tissue present in the breast. “Fibroglandular tissue appears as white on the mammogram, making it difficult to visually detect breast cancers.” The increased density is noted even when other demographic factors like age, weight, and pregnancy history are factored in.

Increased breast density can absolutely make finding breast cancer harder. A breast cancer will also light up as white on traditional mammography, which can be hidden behind fibroglandular tissue. I often send my patients with dense breasts to have a 3-D mammogram and an ultrasound if needed. That different type of imaging, used in combination with mammography, can detect a higher number of abnormalities than traditional mammography alone. 

Dr. Wendy Weighs In On Why She Thinks People Don’t Assess Their Risk

Dr. Wendy: Lack of Family Health History: Honestly, I think that one of the barriers is knowledge of family history. Many families in various cultures just don’t share. If grandmother died of something, that was “her business.” 

Taboo Conversations: We also sometimes don’t want to “speak” illness, as if talking about it causes it in some way. While I believe in the power of positive thinking and prayer, we should be informed about what is going on in our family so that we can prevent or catch issues early in the future.

The Recommended Age for Assessing Your Risk

Dr. Wendy: 18 or younger. Why not? Ask your parents and extended family. Breast cancer family history, ovarian cancer, and colon cancer are all relevant, as are habits and personal characteristics.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re encouraging all women to #AssessThenAct: take the Assess Your Risk quiz, and then create a preventive action plan with your personalized results. It only takes 5 minutes!

Take Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk Quiz

A huge thank you to Dr. Wendy McDonald for helping us put together this guide to early detection, self-awareness, and risk factors! Check out more of her advice and work on her amazing website. And, don’t forget to visit Bright Pink’s Facebook page to watch our Facebook Live with Dr. Wendy.

P.S. Dr. Wendy wants to give a gentle reminder: men can get breast cancer, too.

Health Innovation

Her Bright Future

This Women’s History Month, rather than looking back, we’re looking forward to the bright future we all deserve – one in which less lives are lost to breast and ovarian cancer, every young woman is empowered to know her risk and manage her health proactively, and women everywhere can live healthier, happier, longer lives.

Bright Pink is committed to serve as a tenacious champion for women as they journey toward these futures. And we’re proud to be amongst some of today’s most innovative women’s health leaders striving to meet the ever-changing needs of women as they navigate the shifting healthcare landscape.

We’ll feature other wonderful health innovators on our blog, through Instagram giveaways, and as a matching donor to our Facebook Fundraiser.

Together, we’ll secure Her Bright Future


Throughout March, we’ll introduce a wonderful health innovator who is working alongside Bright Pink to create Her Bright Future. First up? We’re teaming up with Modern Fertility: The fertility hormone test you can take at home. Get to know the power-duo behind the company, Afton Vechery & Carly Leahy.

  1. Tell us a bit about Modern Fertility and how your mission empowers women?
    We’re a women’s health company focused on making fertility information more accessible, earlier in life. We take the same fertility hormone tests offered in infertility clinics and make them available before your first (or next) kid. We plan out everything in our lives––our finances, our careers––but when it comes to fertility, we’re still expected to just “wait and see”––and in 2019, that’s just not good enough. Modern Fertility is putting the power of fertility knowledge directly into the hands of women, so they can be their own best advocates when it comes to decisions impacting their bodies and futures.
  2. How did the idea come about to create Modern Fertility?
    Our CEO and cofounder Afton Vechery decided she didn’t want to have kids until later in life, so she set out to better understand her fertility and start planning ahead. The process wasn’t easy: multiple appointments and procedures—plus a $1,500 bill that came in the mail when it was all done. Despite the painful process, she felt empowered by the information she uncovered, which allowed her to understand her body and take control of her roadmap. The experience spawned the idea for Modern Fertility. Afton was inspired to make this process dramatically easier and more accessible so more women could take the reins of their personal health.
  3. What differentiates Modern Fertility from more traditional fertility/ hormone testing?
    Traditional fertility testing takes place in infertility clinics, typically only after you’ve tried to conceive and are having problems. With less than 500 infertility clinics nationwide and costs reaching above $1,500, this traditional process is problematically constrained, not to mention, is designed to be reactive instead of proactive. Modern Fertility is the most comprehensive hormone test that you can take at home––helping women understand reproductive health early so they can make a decision accordingly.
  4. How does Modern Fertility prioritize women’s health? Everything we do is focused on bettering women’s health. Our internal motto is simply, “We trust women.” We believe that women deserve to understand and own their persona health information so they can be their own best health advocate and work with their doctors while staying in the driver’s seat––all to make the decisions that are right for them.
  5. Which #bossbabe inspires you the most? There are so many, but we love Michelle Obama for showing us you can be smart, sexy, motherly, feminine and goofy all in one go. Her memoir, Becoming, is a must-read. Must own.
  6. Your go-to Girl Power pump-up music is _______. When we first started the company we listened to Havana by Camila Cabello a lot. Like––a lot a lot.
  7. Favorite way to self-care and why? We both love to sweat. Our exercise of choice? Biking!
  8. Please describe how you envision Her Brighter Future. What does it look like? What opportunity exists? What equity is achieved? We see a world where fertility testing is as routine as a pap smear. And that’s just the beginning. We’re working toward a future where every woman has access to information about her body that will help her make informed decisions about her life.
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