HSM Health Editor Tonja Goes 0 To 60 Miles In 3 Days in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Tonja Ward | 10/22/2009, 5:32 p.m.
This month is also a time when we can all join in the fight to end breast cancer. In doing ...

October is National Breast Caner Awareness Month. A reality check time to learn just how devastating this disease really is.

Consider the 2009 Breast Cancer Statistics:

• 192,370 new breast cancer cases are estimated to be diagnosed in 2009

• 40,170 women will die from breast cancer in 2009

• 1,910 men will develop breast cancer and 440 will die from the disease

• 13,090 women in Texas will be diagnosed with breast cancer

• 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer some time during her life

• Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, other than skin cancer

Source: American Cancer Society Cancer Facts & Figures 2008-2009

This month is also a time when we can all join in the fight to end breast cancer. In doing my part, I participated in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day 60 Mile Walk for the Cure in our nations capital October 9-11. The mission of Susan G. Komen (SGK) for the Cure is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.

The 3-Day Walk was an amazing journey. Most folks had very personal reasons for walking. But, regardless of whether they were survivors, had lost loved ones or were current care takers the one common purpose was to end breast cancer as we know it today. I walked in memory of my Aunt and in honor of friends who are waging war with this beast right now.

Thanks to my generous donors, I raised $2,530 to help the cause. I am also grateful that God allowed me to finish the entire 60-mile walk through hot, cold and rain without any injuries, not even a blister.

Day one (20 miles) was definitely the hardest. It included a lovely, scenic 3-mile hill right after lunch. Quite a treat for someone who trained in the flat lands of our great city! But that mini mountain was motivation. It couldn’t get any worse right? So I put the FITatudes into practice that advise me to trust God, think positively and persevere to the end. And it got easier with Day two (22 miles) and by day three (18 miles) it was a piece of cake!

I also had tons of fun Feeling Inspired Together with my team the Lilies of the Valley. We encouraged and inspired our fellow walkers through our positive outlook, high energy, smiles and silly songs along the way. Oh and we didn’t pass up the opportunity to entertain the camp during the karaoke nights! You know talent has never kept me from loving being on stage.

The walk made me grateful for budgeting time in my life to train and prepare ahead of time and for the opportunity to make wise food choices before and during the event to stay properly fueled.

We hope and pray that this is the year for the cure, but whether or not that happens I know that SGK is making a difference so I am committed to raising funds again for the 2010 walk in Dallas.

Since early detection and treatment offers the best chance of survival some of the SGK funds support facilities here in Houston where you can go to get a free or low cost mammogram. To find the center nearest you visit www.komen-houston.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Education_Community_Resource_Directory

When breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage and is confined to the breast, the 5-year survival rate is 98%.

So remember, annual screening mammograms starts at age 40. If there is a family history of breast cancer or any specific risk concerns, please consult with your healthcare provider to determine when to begin your mammograms.

Also get clinical breast exams every three years beginning at age 20 and annually after 40 by a healthcare provider. And do your monthly breast self-exams starting by age 20.

Want to join me next year? Visit www.The3Day.org for more information and www.FITatudes.com for more healthy-living tips.