Choose You Commitment: Commit to Putting Yourself First

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Heart disease remains the leading cause of mortality here in the United States with all cancers following a close second. For women, breast cancer ranks just behind skin cancer as the leading cause of cancer diagnosis. According to recent statistics released from the American Cancer Society, "in 2010 alone, an estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer and about 40,230 deaths are expected to occur among women in the U.S."

Twenty-six years ago October was declared National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it still remains true today. And while researchers are working ardently to find a cure, women cannot forgo doing their share to help prevent and detect this disease by being an active participant in their health care needs.

Because of the alarming statistics regarding breast cancer, the American Cancer Society is stepping up to the plate with a new movement called the Choose You Commitment. This program is designed to encourage women to put their own health needs first so that they will be in a better position to help others.

According to a survey conducted by the American Cancer Society, "95% of women stated they needed to do more to improve their health; however 58% of the women surveyed stated they put their health needs behind others." This is why this program was initiated, so that women would be given the resources to take action.

The “Choose You Commitment” program is designed to encourage women to get mammograms in addition to following a healthy diet and exercise plan, as well as limiting alcohol consumption. They can also receive online mammogram reminders, as well as a breast health e-kit--all this at no cost to those who sign up.

Since every one of us is at risk for developing breast cancer and the older we are the greater that risk is, doing what we can do to prevent this disease or even receive early diagnosis may help with our long-term prognosis. Studies have shown that early detection can make a huge difference in the survival rate of those afflicted with breast cancer. This is why the “Choose You Commitment” is such an important component to our healthy lifestyle.

Last week I had the honor to participate in the Dallas Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K Walk with 12 of my high school girlfriends. It just so happened that this event coincided with our 30th high school class reunion. And while I would like to say that none of my classmates ever had to battle breast cancer, sadly that is not the case. Our walk was in honor of those currently fighting this disease and for those who have lost the fight to this terrible disease. It was so moving to walk with well over 25,000 other participants and survivors, but I look forward to the day when we no longer have to walk or run in search of a cure.

Have you heard of the Choose You Program? If not, would this be something you would consider signing up for? Have you or a family member/friend been afflicted with breast cancer?

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My sister just had a mastectomy yesterday; she's 45 and is now facing 6 months of chemo and radiation. Thanks to all the survivors who took the time to leave a comment! It's reassuring to know that so many folks survive this. Report
Breast Cancer Survivor - 1 year and 1/2. I work out 2 hours per week and walk 8 miles per week. I'm committed. Report
I am a four year breast cancer survivor. My cancer was found with a mammogram. I had waited seven years between tests, because I didn't like the discomfort. Boy, was I surprised when cancer showed up, but thankful it was caught early. I know many other women who have had or have breast cancer. It will be in all our lives whether personally or someone we know.

Last week I had a checkup with the oncologist. He said that with my weight loss I had reduced my chance of recurrence by 30%. That was reward enough for all the hard work. I'm going to now going to do the Choose You Program, because I want to choose living! Report
I participated in my local chapter of the Susan G. Komen 5K Walk/Run. It was so great to see so many people out in support of this great cause. It was even fun to see the number of guys wearing pink wigs and other costumes worn to support those who are fight or have lost the fight. I am so glad I was able to attend this event this year. It is a great cause and looking forward to next years great event! Report
My mother had breast cancer -twice-. The first mastectomy was at age 42, the second at 67, and she died last year at 94 3/4 totally cancer-free. Radiation therapy for the first caused the second cancer but it was still discrete when removed surgically - no metasteses. I have had mammograms annually since age 30 religiously. Report
I have to agree with Silverhawk in that this is but one type of cancer to worry about. Lung cancer kills far more women every year than breast cancer. Heart disease is the number one killer.

I am a long term stage III lung survivor and unfortunately my case is not the norm. Most women who are diagnosed with this stage lung cancer will not survive for five years. While breast cancer is more common lung cancer is more likely to kill and more women than ever are being diagnosed at younger ages (I was 33 at diagnosis). Report
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk 2 weeks ago and the Heart Walk in May - Volunteer with Animal Refuge Society - The American Red Cross - Blood Donor and work at the event. I try to do at least one thing every quarter that is bigger than myself. Report
I'll look into it thanks for the advice Report
very informative Report
My favorite older aunt passed away of breast cancer at the end of 2005. She never got checked and ther doctor said she had the cancer for about five years. Her breast were already destroyed by the cancer. No one knew. It really hurt the family when she died because if she would have spoken up she could still be alive. What do do when people want seek help is a big problem I believe. Report
My biggest problem with "breast cancer awareness" is the narrowness of the scope. I've considered doing the 3-day a couple times in the past (including just a week or two ago) but the biggest thing stopping me is that I don't really believe in the cause. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for breast cancer research. But how many other forms of cancer are there out there? If it was for general cancer research, even if the bulk of the monies went to breast cancer, I'd be there in a second. But every time I look at this, it's all about breast cancer. My mother-in-law died of ovarian cancer (before I had a chance to meet her) and I would just like to see SOME emphasis on the fact that there are other cancers out there. Report
My "Choose Your Commitment" program is sparkpeople. 250 fitness minutes a week baby! Report
the statistics are there..and they are true last i heard 1 in 8 women..look around you 1 in 8 you know eight women (include yourself in that count) is gonna die from breast cancer..those statistics all by themselves are so scary when prevention is there..your mammogram hurt?? well tell the people that hurt you and get on with it i changed mammography clinics don't risk your life on a temporary hurt deal..this from a former mammographer who had breast cancer twice and chemo and radiation PREVENTION IS PRICELESS
the lady mary Report
I will not get mammograms. After the first one which caused severe pain and discomfort, and with the newest research that states that having annual mammograms result in only statistically insignificant improvement of finding a lump over regular BSEs. I will stay with my monthly BSEs. Report
great article Report
I just did the 5K for Race for the Cure in Des Moines yesterday. It was awesome! Report
I did my First Susan G Komen walk this year. I was taken aback at the size of the crowd but even more so when i saw how many survivors were there. It gives me hope that there will be a cure found some time, hopefully soon.I have had abnormal Mammograms. I will be signing up for this program and I hope I can forward this to others . Report
I'm a registered nurse and I see the problem often of women sacrificing their own healthcare to "care for others". The Choose You commitment is a wonderful idea! Women need to understand that caring for themselves first is not selfish at all, but equips them to be available to help others when needed. Thank you. I signed up and have posted it on Facebook, too. Report
I have had breast cancer twice and I have not really looked after myself. after my husband died 6 years ago this coming Jan 1st. I keep trying and just fall off the wagon time and time again. There was somthing about when he was here I could do what I should do. Since he has been gone I do good for awhile and then it goes ot to lelt of the ball pack. In the last two week I have been doing been doing better. Hopefully I can keep it up. Report
@jibbie49 my mother is 56 years old. She breast fed her 4 children too, she has never smoked like u, and she is a Breast Cancer survivor!
I breastfed four children, so I'm really not worried about getting Breast Cancer. And I've never smoked.
Breast Cancer has become an issue since Formula Companies pushed women to stop nursing their babies. Report
I have not heard of the program but will definitely sign up. Report
I have been having yearly mammograms for about 15 years now. I always get reminders.

I lost a brother-in-law to breast cancer about two years ago. Report
Both of my grandmother's passed from breast cancer. I get breast exams regularly because at 26 I've already had two lumps. Bleh... I have not heard of this program, but am going to look into it! Report
Thanks for sharing this with everyone. I lost my oldest sister,Ann this past March to Breast cancer. I not only get my regular mammograms but spread the word to others how very important this procedure is in the prevention of breast cancer. Report
My mother is a breast cancer survivor! Report
I did the 3 Day 60 mile walk in Chicago 4 years ago. A wonderful event. Report
I'm overdue for my mammogram. Thanks for the reminder. Report
My maternal grandmother died from breast cancer. Report
I am a breast cancer survivor...7 years this month. I volunteer extensively for the cause. I know that breast cancer gets a lot of attention. However, it is BECAUSE of this attention that the death rate has dropped and more people like myself are surviving and thriving. I firmly believe that we would not be saying Prostate Cancer, Colon Cancer or naming any other formerly "private" cancers out loud if not for the promise Nancy Brinker made to her dying sister Susan G. Komen that she would do everything in her power to find a cure for this disease. Awareness and early detection for all of these diseases is very important. Programs that teach us to take charge of our health are very worthwhile.

I would like to comment on another statement that was made in response to this blog: Susan G. Komen for the Cure does not give a huge chunk of its money to Planned Parenthood. The big chunk of money goes to research. Support is given in the form of grants awarded by individual affiliates that are judged to provide education and services to women and men in their local communities. These grants are competitive and monitored frequently. Please check the grantee list of your individual Susan G. Komen for the Cure and see how the organization gives back to the community. Report
I have decided to retract the comment I made here - I think the intent of the blog was interpreted differently than it was intended. Report
I have not heard of the program but I have mammograms every year because my maternal Grandmother and 3 Aunts died from Breast Cancer. Report
I recommend all women educate themselves on the dangers of mammograms, PROVEN dangers, and avoid them. Such as mammograms causing cancer. We have to be wise about these things; take charge of your own health - do some research on the internet. You may have to search for a doctors office that has a thermography machine, and you may or may not have to pay out of pocket for it; but I will never have a mammogram.
As a three time cancer survivor, no one is more committed to finding the cure for breast cancer. However, it has come to my attention that a good chunk of the money collected for Komen goes to Planned Parenthood. I object to any money I give or raise to going for planned abortions. What good are we doing if we save one life from breast cancer and take another life that hasn't even had a chance. A sad day for me. Report
Thanks for the info. I'm a member of the Lions Club and I will share this information in our Breast Cancer Awareness sessions this month. Report
Although the article was informative, I would not sign up for the Program. Since having my first mammogram, I am reminded and notified yearly for my exam. I'll be sure share this information to others. Thanks! Report
I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2003, at the age of 39. I had my one and only mammogram after finding the lump myself. The reason I no longer get mammograms is because I had a bilateral mastectomy, without reconstruction.

I learned in April 2007, it returned, this time in my bones. I am now stage IV, and incurable, but so far managing and surviving. Since 2003, I've had chemo, radiation 4 times, and had to start chemo again in April of this year, and my doctor has not decided as of yet when I will be done with chemo.

I think it's a good program, but since my cancer is way past the early detection stage and I have nothing left to take a mammogram of, I won't be signing up for it myself. Report
Thanks for the article and the info..... Report
This sounds like a great program. I just did my baseline mammogram this morning, since I recently turned 40. I dreaded it, but it was absolutely painless (and the tech said it should never hurt, so say something if it does!). Report
I just signed up! Thanks for the info! Report
I had not heard about this, but it sounds like something I should sign up for Report
I had not heard of this program, thanks for sharing! I'm less than 3 weeks away from being a first-time participant in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. SIXTY miles, here I come! :) Report
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