By Mia Sherin, October 26, 2020
Breast cancer is a cause that has always been close to our team and community at Habits 365. And while there are many health concerns permeating our society today that are important, we did not want to lose sight of this cause and our passion in raising awareness for Breast Cancer. So in honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we hoped to use this space to share good habits we can all be practicing to keep ourselves and our loved ones aware of and protected from Breast cancer.
To gain some insight into first hand experience with Breast Cancer prevention, I had the honor of speaking with Jessica Selmer, parent of Habits team member, Natalie Selmer, who came from a family with a very high risk of Breast Cancer. Because of this, Jessica was a prime target for the BRCA (Breast Cancer) gene. Choosing whether or not to get tested for the BRCA gene is a decision only those who were forced to make it can truly understand, but Jessica made the choice to take control of her future and get the test. And she was so glad she did. “With that information, you're put in a position where you have to make some difficult decisions,” she explained. “But ultimately, I feel fortunate and blessed that I was able to have the choice to empower myself and take the steps, rather than having cancer come for me first.”
When looking at what habits we can all practice, Jessica shared, “I think it’s very important for people to create those habits, whether they be having a mammogram every year, knowing your family history, your medical history, staying active and watching what you eat to build up your immune season, all of that.” And most of all, we should all take-charge of our health and our lives in advance to protect our future. “In being proactive,” Jessica said, “I could take those steps to secure my future as a mother and as a wife, for my kids and my family.”
While Breast Cancer is typically associated with women, men can still be affected. After chatting with Jessica and learning her story, I reached out to my own grandpa, Hillel Gamoran, who is a 90-year-old Breast Cancer survivor. About two years ago, he found a lump in his breast, went to the doctor, and just a week later he was having the operation to get his breast removed. Thankfully, they were able to confirm that the cancer had not spread to any other areas of his body, and he is completely cancer-free today. But this story only further illustrates that while it is crucial for women to give themselves breast self-exam, men should do the same.
When asking my grandpa what habits he practiced that helped him get through that difficult time, he simply said that he was gentle with his body: “The most important habit I practiced was that I took it easy for a while, for several months,” he said. “I think I’m careful with my body, more than I would have been if I haven’t had the surgery.”
So in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, give yourself a breast self-exam, talk with your family about your medical history, take care of your body and be proactive. While practicing these positive habits, make sure to raise awareness for Breast Cancer and share this important information with your friends and family.