Close Icon
Browsing Tag

#ocam

REAL Self Love: 8 Actions You Can Take
#BCAM, #OCAM, Aerie, Assess Your Risk

REAL Self Love: 8 Actions You Can Take

In case you didn’t know, it’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month is just around the corner. Bright Pink is on a mission to move beyond Awareness to Action and Aerie is with us! AerieREAL is committed to women’s empowerment through self-love. What better way to love yourself than to take control of your health and well-being and manage your risk of breast and ovarian cancer?

Aerie Wants You to Take Care of Your Girls!
Before we share how you can make both little and big changes in your everyday life for a bright cancer-free future, know that the limited-edition sports bra, legging and hoodie you’ll see throughout this article, are all for sale and 100% of the proceeds benefit Bright Pink and our life-saving mission!

Shop the Aerie-Bright Pink Limited Edition Collection!

The first step towards prevention for anyone with breasts and/or ovaries is to assess our hereditary and lifestyle factors.

Aerie is also donating $1 for EVERY risk assessment through October. It takes only 3 minutes to take the quiz and learn your risk and receive personalized recommendations to manage your health proactively.

Assess Your Risk of Breast & Ovarian Cancer

Cancer is a formidable disease. But we do not need to live in fear. We have the tools to set ourselves up for long, happy, healthy lives. And we do this by thinking, talking and acting proactively to reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer through a number of evidence-based actions.

Recent research shows that more than 40% of cancer deaths could be prevented through lifestyle strategies. Of those, early detection is among the most impactful.

When breast cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate can be 98%.

When ovarian cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate can be 92%.

close up of young woman in desert wearing Aerie and Bright Pink limited edition sports bra

The human body is amazing—and when we adopt strategies and practice daily habits that support the body’s natural disease-fighting instincts, we can reduce our cancer risk factors. Knowledge is power.

So here are 8 ways to be proactive when it comes to your breast and ovarian health.

1. Break a Sweat
Fitting in a quick 30-minute workout 5 day per week—or fewer, longer workouts if that’s more convenient—will help eliminate some of the estrogen-producing fatty tissue in our bodies.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of exercise, vigorous enough to break a sweat, each week. So grab a fitness buddy and your limited edition Aerie athletic wear and work it out.

young woman in yoga pose on desert rocks wearing Aerie and Bright Pink limited edition sports bra and legging

2. Fill Your Plate with Healthy Foods
A diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains reduces our risk of developing “invasive” breast cancer, a version of the disease that is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.

Improving eating habits doesn’t have to happen all at once; we suggest working with your doctor to decrease sugar consumption and introduce more fruits and vegetables, until you’re eating well and feeling great.

3. Maintain a Healthy Weight for You
Talk to your health care advisor about what a healthy weight means for you.

Scientific studies show that an excess of the estrogen hormone increases the risk of developing breast cancer. And maintaining a healthy weight is a way to keep your estrogen levels in check.

4. Find Alternatives to Happy Hour
Get in the habit of having no more than one alcoholic drink per day, or working towards eliminating alcohol completely.

Research shows that every additional standard-sized boozy drink per day can increase the risk of breast cancer. “Standard-sized” generally means a restaurant pour of wine, a can of beer, or a shot of liquor.

5. Say No to Smoke
There’s a direct correlation between tobacco use and ovarian cancer. In fact, smoking doubles our risk of developing the disease.

The good news is that quitting smoking can lower ovarian cancer risk to average levels within 20-30 years. That may sound like a long time, but it’s a great example of how the body can bounce back from unhealthy habits.

6. Ask Your Doc About the Pill
Research has shown that taking birth control pills for 5 years in our 20s and 30s—and it doesn’t have to be 5 years in a row—can reduce our ovarian cancer risk by up to 50%. That makes taking oral contraceptives, one of the most powerful methods of ovarian cancer risk reduction.

Side note: you may have heard that taking birth control pills can increase the risk of developing breast cancer. There is a minimal, but real, increase in the risk of breast cancer among women who use hormonal oral contraceptives for 5 or more years. Research indicates that this risk decreases over time after you stop taking contraceptives. However, as with most health decisions, the choice whether or not to take birth control pills is very personal. Talk with your healthcare provider to weigh the potential risks and benefits as part of your proactive plan.

Assess Your Risk & Aerie Will Donate $1 to Bright Pink

7. Know Your Normal
It can be hard to diagnose the symptoms of ovarian cancer, since they are so similar to symptoms of other problems. Try to stay aware of any digestion issues, pelvic or abdominal pains, or pains during intercourse that persist and prompt a visit to your doctor.

Check in with your breasts regularly to know what is normal for you. (the week after your period is a good time). Remember to cover all of your breast tissue (from your collarbone, out to your armpits, down to your breastbone) and notice any changes in size, shape, bumps, lumps, dimpling, or pulling that are out of the ordinary for you.

8. Assess Your Risk
Aerie is Donating $1 for EVERY Completed Risk Assessment. This is the time to take the 3 minute quiz.

When it comes to breast and ovarian cancer prevention, it’s essential to think, talk, and act proactively.

The first step towards prevention for anyone with breasts and/or ovaries is to assess our hereditary and lifestyle factors. By knowing our risk factors, we empower and protect ourselves. And by taking care of our bodies through healthy choices, we reduce our risk.

Right now, you can learn your personal cancer risk in just 3 minutes by taking the Assess Your Risk (AYR) quiz. Plus, AYR provides simple, personalized steps to take charge of your breast and ovarian health.

Try the tool that has helped more than 1.5 million women gain power over their health and plan proactively to protect themselves from breast and ovarian cancer.

Here’s a simple first step—take the Assess Your Risk quiz today!

Aerie Obsessed!
We can’t get enough of our latest collection with Aerie. It is so good! If you’re loving it as much as us, remember Aerie is donating 100% of the sales to Bright Pink—even more of a reason to shop before it’s gone.

Shop the Aerie-Bright Pink Limited Edition Collection!

#OCAM, Assess Your Risk

How “Knowing Your Normal” Can Save Your Life

We all have those days. The days we go all out at our favorite ice cream place and our stomach painfully reminds us why we don’t eat a ton of dairy. Or those days when it’s “that time of the month” and our stomach is in knots or we seem to spend a lot more time in the bathroom. Those days aren’t fun, but they can be part of a normal, healthy life for women. 

However, sometimes they aren’t. Each year, about 20,000 women in the U.S. receive a diagnosis of ovarian cancer after they notice things like digestive issues, abdominal pain, frequent urges to pee that don’t go away. 

This can be a scary reality but there are steps you can take to prevent your risk of ovarian and breast cancer. If you have the power to take your future health into your hands, why wouldn’t you?

concerned young woman

The first step is to know your risk. Take 5 minutes to Assess Your Risk and receive your results with personalized prevention recommendations that you can implement today.

Early detection is also key– the earlier the stage, the easier it is to find successful treatment options. Ovarian cancer is no exception, but as many health providers will tell you, finding ovarian cancer in its early stages is extremely challenging. First of all, there are no regular screening tests for women (no, your Pap smear isn’t checking for ovarian cancer!). Secondly, since your ovaries are located pretty deep within your body, you often can’t physically feel any initial changes in their size or shape from developing tumors. 

Because ovarian cancer is not as easily detected it is so important that you recognize the signs and symptoms and know your normal to catch it as early as possible. 

woman looking in bathroom mirror

So what are you looking for?

Primary symptoms of ovarian cancer include:  

  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Prolonged bloating
  • Frequently needing to pee
  • Having trouble eating or feeling full quickly

Secondary Symptoms include: 

  • Upset stomach
  • Constipation
  • Back pain
  • Menstrual changes
  • Pain during intercourse

These problems can be signs that something isn’t right. (Find out more about watching for these symptoms)  

You may be thinking – that just sounds like a normal period! And you’re right, you may have some of these symptoms for a day or two around your period. However, when these symptoms don’t go away – you consistently have them for 2-3 weeks and they aren’t improving – you should check in with a healthcare provider. 

uncomfortable woman wrapped in blanket

Do these symptoms sound like your life for the past month or so? If so, don’t panic. Ovarian cancer is one of many conditions that could cause these problems. However, you still need to talk to your provider about these symptoms so they can run tests for ovarian cancer – especially if you have a family history of cancer (not just ovarian!) and/or a genetic mutation that could increase your risk.

While women without a family history or genetic mutations have about a 1.3% chance of developing ovarian cancer in their lifetime, women with a family history of cancer or a genetic mutation have a much higher risk. Some genetic mutations can raise your risk of developing ovarian cancer to almost 50% over your lifetime. (Don’t know your family history? We got you!

This Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is a perfect time to take charge of your ovarian health, so you’ll be informed and ready to face any symptoms life may throw your way well before you start feeling them. 

Take the first step to cancer prevention and early detection.

Find out your ovarian (and breast) cancer risk with Bright Pink’s Assess Your Risk quiz and start living proactively today! 

#OCAM, Assess Your Risk, Early Detection, Personal Stories

Why Early Detection Matters: Morgan’s Story

Did you know? About 21,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year, and of those, 14,000 die from it. That’s essentially ⅔ ratio. This year, I became one of those 21,000; however, I’m also incredibly lucky to be one of the fortunate ones who caught it before it was too late.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is important to me because there is so much that we, as women, don’t know about our bodies and how we can be proactive about our health.

My Story

At 34, I was the epitome of a healthy young woman. I eat clean, don’t smoke, exercise regularly, and wear sunscreen. One day, I walked into the doctor’s office and found out I have cancer.

My journey started with a gut feeling. In recent years, I’d had a number of friends who had confided in me about their trouble conceiving and, as an unmarried woman in my early 30’s who desperately wants children one day, I decided to trust my instincts and look into freezing my eggs.

At my initial appointment, the doctors gave me an ultrasound which revealed a large ovarian cyst on my right ovary. The doctors assured me it was nothing, “99% chance it’s benign” but nonetheless, they recommended I have surgery to remove it so it wouldn’t rupture and cause more severe internal damage. I reluctantly agreed.

Surgery number one was scheduled in September. The plan was to have the cyst removed and then I could proceed with egg freezing; however, after surgery, I walked in to my follow up appointment for the biopsy results and got the news everyone dreads hearing.

On October 5, 2017 I was diagnosed with immature teratoma (stage 1) ovarian cancer. As the doctors explained to me, the initial cyst was benign; however, during surgery, they found another tumor that none of the scans had shown. That tumor was cancerous.

The next few weeks were a blur. I saw numerous doctors for second and even third opinions to understand what was going on in my body and what was the best course of action for my treatment. After reviewing all options, the treatment plan was outlined to have surgery to remove my right ovary and, as long as the cancer hadn’t spread, I wouldn’t have to proceed with chemotherapy.

I felt so many emotions during those weeks leading up to surgery. I wondered how on earth this was happening to me, why I didn’t know and what signs I missed. As someone who is extremely type A, I scoured my calendar for missed annual appointments or anything of that nature and I came up short. I had done everything right, it just didn’t make sense.

Going into surgery was one of the scariest days of my life. I believed in my heart that I would be ok but I still saw the fear in everyone’s faces when they learned my story. But I’m nothing if not a fighter so I forged ahead, trying to remember to be brave like all those other women who’ve been through this battle too.

Luckily, on Thanksgiving that year after surgery #2, I was given the news that I was cancer-free. This means I would be closely monitored for the next year but essentially, I had a clean bill of health and wouldn’t need additional treatment.

As I stand here today, it’s certainly not lost on me how fortunate I am to have caught this early. And, when Bright Pink approached me to write this piece, I’m reminded of something I heard once that really stuck with me: It’s not luck that changes your fate. Everyone in this world will have situations that are “lucky.” It’s what you do with that luck that has the power to change the world.

For me, that’s why Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is so important. I’m standing here today, not with any large life lesson or sign/symptom that I can share to save you or your loved ones from cancer. Instead, I’m joining Bright Pink and telling you to Assess Then Act.

Listen up to your instincts. If you think something isn’t right, call your doctor. Who knows, it just may save your life. It saved mine.

One of the most impactful ways to protect yourself from an ovarian cancer scare is to become ovarian self-aware. Knowing your risk factors, like family history, physical features, and daily habits is the first step.

This Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we’re encouraging everyone to #AssessThenAct: take the Assess Your Risk quiz, and then create a preventative action plan to protect your health. Get started in just 5 minutes today.

Take the Assess Your Risk Quiz

MORGAN BELLOCK is a Public Relations professional living in the Chicago area. You can get in contact with Morgan at [email protected]

X

Join the Bright Pink Movement

Be the first to hear progress updates, inspiring stories, and new ways you can act to prevent breast and ovarian cancer.

BP Loading
Thanks for your patience as we process your information. You'll be redirected shortly.
X

One more step to get signed up for breast and ovarian health updates.

We just need a little information and you'll be all set!

BP Loading
Thanks for your patience as we process your information. You'll be redirected shortly.