By MaryEllen Tribby
As most of you know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Every day it seems like more and more women and being affected by this horrible disease. Which is why I felt it was important to dedicate an issue to this important cause. Because in some way or another breast cancer is affecting us all.
I only know what it is like to have a breast cancer scare. But, the three weeks that it took to determine that I did indeed dodge this bullet were some of the most terrifying weeks of my life. My heart goes out to all the courageous women who have battled or are battling this disease.
Below, I interview Genae Girard on breast cancer, the importance of early detection, and some preventative measures women worldwide can use to help combat this disease on their own.
MET: Hi Genae, What is the most important thing a woman can do regarding her breast health?
GG: Be your own advocate. You know your body better than any healthcare professional. When you feel a change, get it checked out. Don't go into denial mode and put it off because you are busy. The sooner you get it checked out the better.
GG: I could mean that you may or may not be at higher risk than most. However, you can go through genetic testing to see if you are pre-disposed to breast cancer. If you test positive you can be at a five times greater likely hood of developing it. The genetic testing is not a "For sure you are going to get it", however if you do test positive, you can be even more diligent with your check ups.
MET: What are some ways to reduce your risk or getting breast cancer?
GG: Some of the most important ways to reduce your risk are eating a plant-based diet and exercising. Also, many women don't realize how stress can play a strong role. Dedicating time for yourself as well as spending time doing what you are passionate about can make a big difference in how you cope in life.
MET: What have you learned going through your own experience with cancer and treatment process?
GG: I have learned how when your skill sets meet your passion that is your vocation. Life is too short not to be doing what you love. If you are not sure what your passion is, it is okay to seek counseling from a career coach or other professional to help you seek out what that is.
MET: You are a leader of a group of over 26,000 breast cancer survivors. What do these women want to know about?
GG: Really it is all about disseminating information. Many medical professionals don't know what the side effects are of the drugs. Many are unfamiliar with the depression that can occur after mastectomy and treatment. So we talk to each other to help one another and to let each other know that we are not alone.
MET: What advice would you give a woman recently diagnosed with breast cancer?
GG: Do your research! Every treatment protocol does have a consequence. Talk to doctors, and get second opinions. Then go to groups such as mine and ask as many questions as you can to derive what the best treatment protocol is for you. Don't rush into a decision.
As with anything in life, when it comes to breast cancer, education and preparation are very powerful things. Early detection can greatly increase your chances of success in fighting breast cancer. And, if you or a loved one has already been affected by breast cancer, educating yourself may also help to reduce stress and fear.
Read online forums where other women have shared their actual experiences with cancer and offer tips or suggestions. There are also many support groups and even coaches dedicated to breast cancer prevention, treatment, and recovery.
None of these things can guarantee success in fighting this disease. However, all of them can greatly improve your chances.
Please share this with your daughters, friends, and every woman you know. Together we can make a difference by raising awareness and educating others on early detection and prevention.
About Genae Girard
Genae Girard is the founder of www.BeyondTheBoobieTrap.com and the author of the book Off The Rack: Chronicles of a thirty something single, breast cancer survivor.
An author, mentor, business women, coach and breast cancer survivor, Genae was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 36.
Now, she volunteers as a counselor for cancer survivors, is a patient advocate for self-education and taking personal control of treatment through a personalized plan (vs. the medical system dictating a 'fit-into-the- box' solution), and regularly participates in a local young survivors social group. Her humorous, real-world portrayal of getting through the trauma and recovery from breast cancer, as well as her zest as a patient advocate, has landed her the role of Stress Reduction Mentor and Speaker for many groups, organizations and events.
Genae is also a plaintiff for the ACLU; together, fighting the U.S. Patent Office for granting one laboratory a patent on the breast cancer genes BRAC1 and BRAC2. She has been interviewed by numerous news programs, magazines, and radio shows such as: 60 Minutes, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CBS News and others.
Genae currently resides in Texas with her fiancée, Bryant, and her 3 four-legged furry best friends. She often visits her horse, Blue, who helps cancer patients feel better through equine therapy. In her spare time, she maintains her passion for painting acrylics and donates many of her custom dog paintings to charities to raise funds for animal shelters (www.BowWowArt.com) and local breast cancer groups.