This month, Birchbox is focusing on our theme Beauty Buzz, but October will always mean something else to me: Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Fifteen years ago, my seriously amazing mom Susan (who also happens to be featured in our third anniversary video!) was diagnosed with breast cancer.
My mom, my little brother, and me at a breast cancer awareness walk three years after her diagnosis.
Today she’s healthier than ever—and making sure the rest of us are, too. As a physician with an integrative and holistic approach to family medicine, she leverages her expertise and her own journey as a breast cancer survivor to help her patients live their best lives. I’ve taken a personal interest in wellness, not just because of my mom’s diagnosis, but because of her entire approach to living a healthy life.
Given that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the U.S. (aside from skin cancer), I asked her to share three things anyone of any age can start doing right now to prevent breast cancer. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Know your body.
When you’re putting makeup on and notice you have a zit, you treat it and keep an eye on it. No matter your age, get used to your own body so you know if there’s a change. Do a breast self-exam regularly in the shower so you know the normal terrain of your breasts.
2. Load up on greens.
We’ve all heard it a million times, but studies continue to show that increasing the amount of phytonutrient-rich whole fruits and vegetables in your diet—specifically cruciferous veggies like broccoli and kale—offers real protection against all types of cancer. Easy-to-make smoothies like this one help you get in far more greens than you ordinarily could.
3. Focus on ingredients.
Educate yourself on the environmental causes of breast cancer that can be avoided—the Breast Cancer Fund is an excellent resource for understanding how to avoid endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can be found in everything from household products to cosmetics. What to avoid can be overwhelming, but when in doubt, look for products with fewer ingredients.