“It is better to play offense vs. defense. We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to know our risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer and do something about it,” says Lindsay Avner, and that’s essentially the principal she has built her entire nonprofit organization on, Bright Pink, which is dedicated to prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. “Be proactive and intentional about knowing your family's health history.”
My favorite word there is “intentional.” It’s a theme we’re seeing more and more of in the conversations around women’s health. Advice like, “Take your health into your own hands” and “Get a second opinion,” radiate through almost any article you see on cancer. Women are making big decisions to remove their breasts and their ovaries in the name of defeating cancer, so the word “intentional” is carrying more weight than ever.
Avner cited Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote on taking chances as a source of inspiration for her and other women, which says, “... at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
“I never, ever want to be among those cold and timid souls,” she said. She has also made it a personal goal to walk 10,000 steps no less than 250 days a year.
Who knows if we will ever defeat cancer entirely, but victory isn’t the whole point. Maybe simply making it a fight instead of death sentence is the true strength.