Photos: 'Changing Behavior, One Woman at a Time'
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"We, as a society are focusing on the wrong message," proclaims Rene Bowditch, co-founder of Beyond Boobs. And what message is she referring to?
"It's our cultural emphasis on the terms breast cancer and awareness. We want to take it to the next level, because awareness does not necessarily equal action. Instead our message is about breast health and taking charge of it. If doing your breast exams was as routine as flossing your teeth, we could dramatically reduce the number of women dying of breast cancer -- because early detection is life saving," she added.
Beyond Boobs is a group of young breast cancer survivors who want to share with all women "The Things They Wish They Had Known." One is to overcome the four 'roadblocks' that prevent women from taking care of their breast health:
"Educating women and encouraging them to take action are essential in getting past these roadblocks, which is our mission at Beyond Boobs," says Mary Beth Gibson, co-founder and cancer survivor. "As an educational tool for all women, we publish an annual "breast health manual" disguised as a beautiful, informative calendar featuring awe-inspiring young survivors," she added.
A "Calendar to Live By 2009" (available at www.beyondboobsinc.org) offers a library of data from the voices of cancer survivors themselves. Sections include: The Things We Wish We Had Known; Risk Factors; A Breast Cancer Assessment Tool; Genetic Testing; Early Detection Screening; A Guide to Breast Self-Examination; Living after Diagnosis; Healthy Lifestyle Suggestions; and How to Support Someone Who Has Been Diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
With an equal focus on education and support, Beyond Boobs' members provide hope and inspiration through group and one-on-one meetings to young women who have been diagnosed before menopause with breast cancer. Rene dedicates many hours to providing breast health education, comfort and humor dressing up as "The Good Health Fairy." What started as a way to cheer up a friend has turned into a local institution and lifelong mission for Rene, part-time law professor and cancer survivor. "The Good Heath Fairy reminds us of the importance of good breast health and not to sweat the small stuff," said Rene.
Beyond Boobs (www.beyondboobsinc.org) is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives by educating and encouraging women to take responsibility for their own breast health and to providing support for young survivors of breast cancer, nationwide.
1. FEAR -- Fear of the disease is the number one reason why women don't want to think or talk about their breast health. 2. DENIAL -- "This could never happen to me." "I have no family history." "I'm in good health." These are just a few statements that women often use as excuses for neglecting their breast health. 3. TIME CONSTRAINTS -- Women today are usually stretched thin, juggling family, jobs, community involvement ... and the list goes on. Women nurture everyone else, but often fail to take care of themselves. 4. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE -- Not knowing what to do or how to do it is another roadblock to early detection of breast cancer.
SOURCE Beyond Boobs
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