Women, Breast Cancer, Lupus and Strength

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Lupus Awareness month. For the next 30 days, the Mover and Shaker section is dedicated to the beautiful, strong women who have found themselves fighting these health battles. This is to be a section to celebrate yourself, your loved ones, survivors and those who are lovingly remembered and unfortunately did not survive.

Right now, according the American Cancer Society, two and a half million breast cancer survivors are living in the United States. In 2007, more than 178,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. And unfortunately, more than forty thousand women, this year alone, will not survive the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer occurs when cells within a particular part of the body start to erratically grow. Normal cells divide and grow in an orderly way; cancer cells do not. Cancer cells grow and crowd normal cells to the point where they overtake them. Breast cancer is a malignant (cancerous) tumor originating from cells in the breast.

Lupus, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, affects up to 1.4 million people in the country. Approximately 9 out of 10 people who have lupus are women, and it is three times more common in black women. It is also more common in women of Hispanic/Latina, Asian and American Indian descent.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease typically affecting the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain. Per the Lupus Foundation of America, a body’s immune system normally makes antibodies, which protect the body against viruses, bacteria and other foreign materials, called antigens.

With lupus, the immune system is not able to distinguish between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. So the immune system produces antibodies directed against itself, causing inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body. Cases (and pain) vary from mild to life threatening.

So, we want to hear YOUR stories. Fill out the comment cards, send us an email (thesavvygal@thesavvygal.com), tell us your or your loved one’s journey. We’re looking for a paragraph including the name of the gal, what she was diagnosed with, how she fought and the one defining characteristic of her personality summing up who she is or was.

Let’s make a compilation celebrating women this month as we also bring awareness to both breast cancer and lupus, knowing awareness saves lives.

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