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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2018 by Fran Joyce

This is me in 2009 - my hair was growing back; a dear friend purchased this custom decorated bra for me at a breast cancer awareness auction in Buffalo, New York.

This is me in 2009 - my hair was growing back; a dear friend purchased this custom decorated bra for me at a breast cancer awareness auction in Buffalo, New York.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, one in eight women developed invasive breast cancer in her lifetime.

Ten years later, one in eight women (12.4%) will still develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime.

Despite incredible strides in early detection, cancer awareness, and treatments the numbers have not changed.

Why? It’s not because we aren’t funding research or trying to live healthier lifestyles. It’s because there are just too many potential causes for cancer. Some are genetic; some are a matter of lifestyle and some are caused by our environment.

Three of the top risk factors are:

1.       Having breasts

2.      Being female 

3.     Aging


one of these children will grow up to have breast cancer

What do we need to know and what can we control?

Here are some facts about breast cancer in the United States for 2018 {taken from breast}:

  • An estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and another 63,960 women will be diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer.

  • About 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men. A man’s lifetime risk for developing breast cancer still remains at 1 in 1,000 (.001%).

  • Incidence rates of breast cancer in the U.S. have been decreasing since 2000. In the 20 years previous to 2000, rates were increasing. These decreases are believed to be the result of decreases in the use of hormone replacement therapy for women.

  • About 40,920 women are expected to die from breast cancer in 2018 – a decrease from prior years. Women under 50 are seeing the highest decrease in breast cancer mortality rates. Early detection through screening along with increased awareness of breast cancer is working.

  • Cancer death rates among women are higher for breast cancer than any other cancers except lung cancer.

  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.

  • African American women under 45 have a higher incidence of breast cancer than other races and overall, African American women are more likely to die of breast cancer than other races.

  • Asian, Hispanic and Native American women have a lower incidence of developing or dying of breast cancer than white women or African American women.

  • As of January 2018 there were 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer – we love seeing these numbers for our survivors, but we want them higher!

  • A woman’s breast cancer risk nearly doubles if she has a mother, sister or daughter who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, but fewer than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with breast cancer.

  • Only 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to genetic mutations inherited from a parent. Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. A woman with the BCRA1 gene mutation has a 55-65% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer as opposed to the 12.4% risk of the general female population. For women with the BRCA2 mutation the risk is about 45%. Women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations tend to develop breast cancer at a younger age and they also face a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. In men, BRCA1 mutations do not appear to increase cancer risk; however, men with the BRCA2 mutation have a lifetime breast cancer risk of 6.8% instead of .001%.

  • About 85% of women who develop breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer. It’s believed these breast cancers are a result of genetic mutations occurring as a result of the aging process and life in general.

  • The most significant risk factors for developing breast cancer include having breasts, being female and aging (growing older). Yes I’m repeating myself, but let this sink in for a moment.


Now that you have the facts, it’s time to take a look at the aging process. We can’t stop time and we have learned that artificially replacing hormones may up our risk of developing breast cancer. Taking care of yourself, eating well, exercising, limiting exposure to environmental toxins and keeping a positive attitude will not guarantee you a cancer-free life, but its something we can do in the way of prevention. Eating a well balanced diet and portion control are important. Remember the more color on your plate, the more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you are getting.

  • Don’t smoke and if you drink alcohol, do not abuse alcohol and never binge drink. There are many different beliefs about alcohol and cancer. The best person for you to consult about this is your personal physician.

  • Cancer screening and early detection are our best line of defense against death from breast cancer. Again, there are never guarantees when it comes to any disease, but early detection and increased survival rates go hand in hand.

  • Performing breast self exams starting at puberty and getting mammograms after age 40 (earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer) are our best hope for early detection and survival.


Stay active, laugh and enjoy this life.  It’s not the quantity of days we are given that ultimately matters. What matters most is the quality of how we spend those days and the people we share them with.

Be well my friends!

Keeping Halloween Simple by Fran Joyce

Sharing Halloween Stories with my Granddaughter Margaret by Jim O'Brien