• The boys and I

  • A Little ‘Bout Me

    I’m 44, married and live in a sewerless small town on the central coast of California. I am an Inflammatory Breast Cancer survivor. My passions are reading, knowledge, shopping and photography – in varying order depending upon my mood. Though I’ve always wanted to be really good at something, I find that I’m just pretty good at most things. I live with my husband, Daddy-O, and our sons, Ben and Danny who are 10 and 5. Ben has ADHD and enough natural energy to power the Pacific Time Zone… and he’s not afraid to use it. Danny has Norries – a rare genetic disease causing him to be born blind. It’s a crazy, hectic life but I can’t complain any more than usual.
  • I Have Issues...

  • Tweet Me

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 12 other followers

  • Advertisements

Breast Cancer and the Stressed-out Dodo

Remember the Dodo birds from the Disney movie Ice Age? There’s a part where they all walk around chanting, “Doomed. Doomed. DOOMED. DOOOOOMED!” Just before they all accidentally walk, jump, fall or roll off the cliff one by one.

Well, that’s about how I feel every time I read a new article about breast cancer research. This morning’s article on Yahoo Health informed me that I was doomed from childhood.
According to the latest research by Dr. Ronit Peled of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, experiencing severe life events at a young age (before 20) can increase your risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 62%. Well, shit.


Peled studied 622 women between 25 and 45 years old. 41% of them had been diagnosed with breast cancer, the other 59% had not. Their “Severe Life Events”, such as loss of a spouse or close relative were tallied as well as mild/moderately stressful events like bad illness, tragedy or job loss and they were given a questionnaire to determine their anxiety, depression, happiness and optimism levels.

Guess what? The women who had two or more severe or mild/moderate life events were 62% more likely to have beast cancer. Plus, those mild/moderate life events seem to build on each other for a cumulative effect. Oh, goody!

The good news? Women with a “general feeling of happiness and optimism” had a lower risk of being diagnosed. About 25% lower.

His conclusion: Women suffering severe losses at a young age should be considered at high risk for breast cancer and treated accordingly. Do you hear that AMA???

Also of note, Isreal has the highest incidence of breast cancer in the world. But it’s not like there’s any stress about living there or anything.

As I read the article I did a quick mental calculation of my pre-20 Severe Life Events.

  • Age 11 – Dad clinically died for 5 1/2 minutes.
  • Age 14 – Dad died.
  • Age 15 – House burned down
  • Age 15 – Close schoolmate committed suicide
  • Age 17 – Schoolmate killed in freak car accident


Looking back, I had many risk factors for breast cancer that I was unaware were even risk factors. Of course, there is the ever-popular BRCA2 genetic mutation. But, hey, it’s not like I knew about that before hand. I had read, however, about the increased risk for women who had their first child after the age of 30. I was 33. What was I supposed to do about that, though? Go pop out a pup just to avoid the Big C? Hardly.

And this article brought to my attention the role early stress may have played in my disease. Also, the Mayor of Lemonland at World Wide Breast Cancer informed me that a history of benign breast biopsies is also a high risk indicator for breast cancer.

Huh. See what I mean? Me and the Dodos had a lot in common.

Cross posted at Mothers with Cancer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: